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St. John’s RNs Say Harassment of Nurses Continues Following Trial

Press Release Press Release, 3/26/10

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Registered nurses at Santa Monica’s St. John’s Health Center said today hospital officials are continuing harassment of nurse activists even after being put on trial by the federal government for charges that it violated RN rights.

The RNs, who have been meeting with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, also today unveiled a new billboard that is on Santa Monica Blvd. between Brockton and Armacost calling on the hospital to adhere to Catholic teachings and respect the nurses’ rights.

The billboard, which features a photo of St. John’s RNs, reads, “Catholic Social Justice Supports Nurse Unions. Why Won’t Saint John’s?”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has specifically stated that “the basic rights of workers must be respected—the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions.” is among the key themes of Catholic Social Teaching.

Yet administrators at St. John’s, which is d a part of the Catholic chain, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, has consistently refused to live up to that ideal and regularly violated the rights of the nurses, CNA charges.

Earlier this month, St. John’s was put on a three-day trial by the National Labor Relations Board on charges of illicit spying on RNs, and interrogating nurses about union activity, among other serious violations. A decision is pending. But since the trial ended, harassment of nurses who are CNA supporters at the hospital is continuing, nurse leaders say.

“Saint John's administration should open its heart to respecting RNs’ rights and embrace the fair union election principles of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,” said Lori Hammond, an RN who works in the labor and delivery unit of the hospital, in the days before the trial.

“This has gone on too long and has taken too high a price on our nurses, our patients and our community. We urge our hospital to respect their nurses and stop the attacks on our attempt to gain collective bargaining rights so we can advocate for our patients,” Hammond said.

*Photos of the billboard are available to the media upon request.

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