Press Release

RNs at Saint John’s in Santa Monica File to Join CNA, Seek Safer Staffing, Improved Standards

For Immediate Release
April 12, 2011

Registered nurses at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica have petitioned the federal labor board for an election to join the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United.

The union representation petition was filed late Monday with the National Labor Relations Board’s Los Angeles region for the 450 RNs at the hospital, which is part of the Sisters of Charity Leavenworth Health System based in Lenexa, Kansas. An election is expected to be held later this spring.

Saint John’s RNs began meeting with CNA representatives a few years ago to discuss their concerns with the hospital administration over a host of issues, including adherence to the state’s landmark safe RN staffing ratio law, and substandard compensation and retirement plans for the nurses.

“We are so happy that we have finally advanced to the point where we can vote. We’ve been waiting for a voice to improve patient care for a long time,” said Saint John’s RN Lori Hammond.

The RNs have also been concerned with what they charge has been unlawful harassment of nurses who support collective representation with CNA. Numerous community and religious leaders have also called on the hospital administration to respect the democratic rights of the RNs and to comply with Catholic social teachings about the right of employees to form unions.

Saint John’s has also run into disputes with the government over allegations of false, inflated Medicare claims.

Last August, the hospital agreed to settle a civil fraud investigation and pay $5.25 million in fines for claims of “turbocharging,” on allegations of billing Medicare for wildly inflated charges in excess of the hospital’s costs between 1996 though 2003.