Press Release

St. Mary-Corwin Pledges to Cease Illegal Acts Against Nurses, RNs Call for Fair Elections

For Immediate Release
December 2, 2010
Facing a federal trial over illegal harassment and coercion of its registered nurses, St. Mary Corwin Medical Center has reached an agreement with the federal agency that oversees labor relations to cease and desist illegal harassment and coercion of its registered nurses who favor union representation.
National Nurses Organizing Committee-Colorado, an affiliate of National Nurses United, the country’s largest RN union and professional organization, today said they will carefully monitor compliance by the Pueblo, Colo. hospital.
At the same time, the RNs said the hospital should demonstrate good faith with the law and the democratic rights of its employees by agreeing to hold a fair election that permits the nurses to vote on union representation in an atmosphere free of intimidation and pressure.
St. Mary-Corwin is a part of the second-largest Catholic hospital chain in the U.S., and managed by the Denver-based Centura Health Corporation, an indication, said the RNs, that the days of a locally owned and locally operated hospital are long gone.
“We understand that the shameful policies of pressuring RNs which has characterized much of the hospital’s behavior may have come from outside our community,” said Gail Martinez an intensive care unit RN at St Mary-Corwin.
“Now the hospital has an opportunity to turn the page in its relationship with its nurses, and join us in pledging a fair, democratic election for the nurses once and for all,” Martinez said.
Such an agreement is needed, says NNOC-Colorado, because of repeated indications by St. Mary-Corwin’s CEO that he does not respect the rights of nurses to decide for themselves whether to form a union, and the enormous sums of money the hospital has already spent on legal fees and other costs to illegally interfere with the legal, democratic rights of the RNs.
The settlement agreement follows a series of charges brought by the RNs and NNOC-Colorado/NNU that the hospital has been violating the constitutional rights of the St. Mary-Corwin nurses by implementing punitive discipline against RNs for talking to other nurses about NNOC, illegal spying on nurses, subjecting them to threats of discipline for talking about the union, and other acts that violate federal law.
Under the settlement agreement with the NLRB, the hospital has promised to end all such behavior, which included blocking the right of off-duty RNs to freely communicate with other nurses, illegal discipline against union supporters, and pervasive surveillance of RNs.