Yet Another Sanction for CHS Barstow
Labor Board Law Judge Says Hospital Violated Collective Bargaining Rights of Nurses
Latest Decision Follows Federal Injunction Issued in August
In yet another reprimand for Barstow Hospital and its parent company, Community Health Systems of Tennessee. On behalf of the National Labor Relations Board, an administrative law judge Monday found that Barstow has broken federal law and violated the rights of its registered nurses through its refusal to engage in good faith bargaining with the RNs and their union, the California Nurses Association.
Judge Jay Pollack ordered the hospital to “cease and desist” from refusing to bargain or engaging in other actions “interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise” of their federally protected rights, notably the right to union representation and a collective voice to advocate for patients and themselves. The administrative law judge decision was the result of an NLRB hearing following charges brought by CNA and the RNs of repeated illegal behavior by the hospital.
The latest ruling follows the actions of a U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder in Los Angeles last month who issued an injunction ordering the hospital to return to contract talks on the same issues raised in the NLRB hearing. Barstow officials subsequently have gone through the motions of meeting with the RN negotiators but, said CNA negotiator Steve Matthews, “are not bargaining in good faith and not respecting the role of the RNs in advocating for high quality patient care.”
Additionally, Barstow officials have yet to meet another requirement set by Judge Snyder – to meet with a large group of Barstow RNs to read her findings of the hospital’s illegal actions. The judge has threatened to find hospital officials in contempt of court if they continue to stall on this order.
The latest NLRB law judge ruling adds further weight to the notorious behavior of Barstow and CHS, which has been repeatedly sanctioned by federal officials across the country for violating the rights of nurses at CHS hospitals in California, Ohio and West Virginia.
RNs at five hospitals, including Barstow, are seeking their first ever collective bargaining contract after voting in 2012 to join affiliates of National Nurses United including CNA, National Nurses Organizing Committee-Ohio, and NNOC-West Virginia.
NNU has been stepping up pressure on the for-profit hospital giant with billboards outside the hospitals reading, “Protect Our Patients, Don’t Silence Nurses,” and leafleting at various locations to alert the public to the hospital’s attack on RN rights and concerns about patient safety.