Sutter Modesto RNs File for Election to Join CA Nurses Assn. and Gain Voice in Patient Care
MODESTO-Registered nurses at Sutter Modesto Memorial Medical Center filed for an election today, with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), to join the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU). Modesto Memorial RNs began organizing after seeing the gains made by thousands of other CNA/NNU represented Sutter RNs throughout Northern California. The NLRB will now determine a date to hold a federally supervised secret ballot election for the 850 RNs that will be held at the facility in Modesto.
Key issues cited by the nurses are inadequate RN-to patient staffing and requirements that RNs work in clinical areas without the appropriate clinical expertise and orientation, both of which are a risk to patient safety, and hospital respect for RNs and their voice in patient care decisions.
The nurses say patient safety at the hospital is being compromised by management’s refusal to follow California’s lifesaving safe nurse-to-patient ratio law, with patients not receiving appropriate coverage when nurses take their meals and breaks. Extremely ill patients do not receive the level of nursing care they are entitled to assert the RNs because they say the hospital refuses to adjust the ratios when more care is needed. Such improvements, they say, will facilitate greater recruitment and retention of skilled experienced RNs and lessen the costs of replacement and training of new hires
“We are thrilled to be moving toward an election and a future in which we have a strong, collective voice to advocate for our patients.” said Melanie Thompson, a critical care RN who works at the hospital.
“We had to overcome many violations of federal law committed by management over the past months in an attempt to thwart our effort to gain collective bargaining rights to improve patient care and staffing. We sincerely hope the hospital will now respect our right to make this decision free from unlawful coercion and intimidation.”
The NLRB has cited the facility on multiple occasions for violations of federal labor law including telling nurses they couldn’t distribute information about CNA/NNU, interrogating RNs about their union activities, and directing nurses not to discuss the union with coworkers. In one of those cases, the NLRB in DC found that the hospital unlawfully solicited complaints from employees and promised to remedy them and interfered with nurses’ rights to hand out union materials on non-work time. More recently, the hospital settled NLRB charges by posting a notice stating that they will not question employees about their union activities or prohibit them from talking with coworkers about the Union.
CNA/NNU is the largest and fastest-growing professional organization of direct-care registered nurses in the nation, representing 185,000 RNs across the country in 300 facilities. In the Modesto area, CNA/NNU represents RNs at Kaiser Permanente, and Doctors Medical Center.