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St. John’s Health Center Management Found GUILTY

Press Release Press Release, 7/6/10

Contact Information | Media Center

For Immediate Release
July 6, 2010

Judge rules hospital engaged in illegal union-busting—RNs rally to demand fair election THURSDAY

Just days after an administrative law judge found management of St. John’s Medical Center committed six different violations of federal labor law in their attempts to deter RNs from joining the California Nurses Association, those same RNs will rally outside the hospital and march into the office of the CEO to demand a fair election.

WHAT:  Nurses Rally for a Fair Election
WHEN:  Thursday, July 8, 11:30 a.m.
WHERE:  23rd street between Arizona and Santa Monica, Santa Monica

“This decision proves once and for all that St. John’s management does not respect the rights of its own nurses and will break the law to carry out their anti union campaign,” said Lori Hammond, RN, a nurse at the facility. “From the very beginning of our organizing efforts, RNs requested that the hospital take the high road and agree to respect federal law and follow the Bishop's recommendations for fair elections. Now there is no place that St. John’s management can hide from their bad behavior. Saint John’s RNs continue to believe that we deserve the right to a fair election and want nothing more than to proceed with this hope."

CNA filed numerous charges against the hospital based on a long course of illegal coercive conduct by management during an organizing campaign that is still on going. The National Labor Relations Board prosecuted the hospital in a formal trial held on March 8 and 9, 2010. Several witnesses testified against the hospital, including four hospital employees. 

The judge’s ruling in favor of the NLRB directly implicated high-level managers, including department directors and the vice president of human resources. The illegal conduct at issue in the case began in the fall of 2008, soon after almost 250 RNs signed a petition which they presented to the CEO, calling for “compliance with California safe staffing laws and regulations, for fair compensation that will enable our hospital to attract and retain quality registered nurses, and for ending all expenditures on anti-union consultants.”

The judge ruled that two different department directors had unlawfully interrogated employees about their involvement with the petition and about the union organizing campaign. Soon after the circulation of the petition many RNs donned a white ribbon, that read “Saint John’s RNs for Safe Patient Care.”

The judge determined that:  “the ribbons were worn as an expression of union solidarity, as well as a concern about Respondent’s (the hospitals) non-compliance with a staffing law dealing with nurse-patient ratios,” and that hospital management illegally threatened RNs with discipline if they continued to wear the ribbons.  

The decision contained several other violations of federal labor law related to RNs’ union campaigning activities at the hospital during shifts when they weren’t on duty, also ruling that the hospital violated the law when it:

  • Imposed a rule barring off-duty employees’ access to the facility,
  • Threatened off-duty employees with calling the police and having them arrested, and
  • Created the impression that employees’ union activities were under surveillance.
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