Nationwide Backroom Deal between Union Bosses and Tenet Corporation Forces Philadelphia Nurses into Union Ranks
Right to Work attorneys hit union and hospital company with unfair labor practice charges for bypassing employee protections
Philadelphia, PA (February 9, 2009) – With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, a registered nurse at a Philadelphia-based Tenet Healthcare facility has filed federal charges against the California Nurses Association (CNA) union and Tenet Healthcare Corporation after union and company officials entered into a backroom deal designed to force unwilling nurses into union ranks.
The charges target a so-called “Election Procedures Agreement” (EPA) formulated by Tenet officials and CNA union bosses at Hahnemann University Hospital to bypass employees’ legal rights. So far, CNA organizers have successfully obtained monopoly bargaining privileges at a Houston-area healthcare facility under similarly controversial circumstances.
The charges list multiple violations of employee rights, all designed to make it more difficult for employees to resist the CNA’s professional union organizers.
Foundation attorneys have reason to believe that the agreement signed by Tenet and the CNA subverts the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) role in supervising unionization elections and bypasses key employee protections. Although the agreement calls for the NLRB to count ballots and “certify” the union, it circumvents all government oversight procedures during the actual election.
The unfair labor practice charges also allege that Tenet officials provided CNA operatives with unlawful organizing assistance in violation of federal statutes. Under the agreement, Tenet managers are gagged from responding to employee questions about the CNA, and nurses who oppose unionization are forbidden from using Tenet facilities to express their views. Outside union organizers, on the other hand, are given free reign to push for a union presence.
“California union militants, with the assistance of complicit Tenet officials, are attempting force unwilling nurses into union ranks,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “We’ve seen this scheme before, and it’s flat out illegal. What isn’t yet clear is exactly what Tenet received in exchange for helping union officials gain access to hundreds of thousands of dollars in union dues.”
The charges, which will now be investigated by NLRB officials, also allege that the EPA amounts to illegal pre-recognition bargaining, with union officials negotiating substantive terms of employment for nurses before they acquire the legal authority to represent them. Foundation attorneys filed similar charges against the CNA and Tenet for several Houston-area nurses in 2008.