Press Release

Outraged by Illegal Threats, O’Connor and St. Louise Nurses Charge County for further Violations of Rights

Nurses with placards

California Nurses Association (CNA) filed new charges with the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) on March 8, alleging Santa Clara County violated state law when it threatened to retaliate against registered nurses at O’Connor Hospital in San Jose and St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy for exercising their fundamental labor rights.

The new charges were filed after the county illegally threatened hundreds of nurses with termination in a memo from County Executive Jeff Smith intended to intimidate and coerce nurses, in violation of state labor law.

“We will not be bullied into standing down and letting the County violate our legal right to stand up for ourselves and our patients,” said Lianne Pounders, an intensive care unit registered nurse at O’Connor. “We are determined to exercise our legal right to strike, as the County refuses to recognize our democratically elected union.”

The strike is scheduled to start at Tuesday, March 12, at 7 a.m. and run through Wednesday, March 13 at 6:59 a.m.

What: One-Day Strike and Rally at O’Connor Hospital
When: Tuesday, March 12 – picket starts at 7:00 a.m., rally at noon
Where: O’Connor Hospital, 2105 Forest Ave, San Jose, Calif. 

What: One-Day Strike and Rally at St. Louise Regional Hospital
When: Tuesday, March 12 – picket starts at 7:00 a.m., rally at noon
Where: St. Louise Regional Hospital, 9400 No Name Uno, Gilroy, Calif.

JOINT RALLY 1:00 p.m. Santa Clara County Government Ctr.,

70 West Hedding St., San Jose, Calif.

“We have an obligation to speak out for our patients and to fight for the best patient care possible,” said Nancy Kumar, an emergency room RN at O’Connor Hospital. “The nurses at O’Connor and at St. Louise democratically elected CNA because it is a strong union with a track record of improving patient care. We have a legal right to respond to the County’s unfair labor practices with a strike, and we are outraged the County has stooped to these union busting tactics. Because we know the County is acting outside the law, we felt we had no choice but to file these charges with the state.”

These new charges come just days after the PERB’s general counsel issued a complaint against Santa Clara County on the grounds the county failed to recognize and bargain through CNA, the nurses elected union.

Nurses say the finding of merit by PERB’s general counsel seriously undermines the County’s assertion that it does not have the legal obligation to negotiate with CNA, and with its current threats of retaliation against nurses, the County that has established a pattern of illegal activity.

“We are pleased that the state went to complaint with those initial charges, and we expect them to do so with the charges brought on March 8,” said Carrie Curnutt, a registered nurse at St. Louise. “We have the law on our side, and we know we will prevail in the end for the nurses and our patients.”

Santa Clara County took over the two facilities on March 1 from Verity, which declared bankruptcy.