Worker advocate thwarts union boss scheme to coercively interrogate independent-minded nurse
McAllen, TX (September 10, 2012) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Legal Foundation staff attorneys, a group of McAllen nurses have succeeded in removing a California-based union from their workplace.
About two years ago, National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC) union officials entered into a "neutrality agreement" with Rio Grande Regional Hospital and its parent company, HCA Holdings, designed to grease the skids for the nurses' unionization. Such agreements give union organizers access to workers in the workplace, workers' home addresses and other personal information, and impose gag rules on what company managers can say about the union.
NNOC union bosses unionized the nurses after conducting a stealth organizing campaign under the neutrality agreement. But a tenacious group of nurses led by Victoria Lynn Glass, RN, filed for a decertification election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and in July 2012 successfully voted the union out of their hospital by a tally of 156-128.
NNOC bosses filed "objections" to the election with the NLRB. However, rather than litigate their objections publicly under NLRB election rules, the union bosses simultaneously invoked a private "arbitration" procedure created by the HCA-NNOC pact and held a "hearing" on the objections before an "arbitrator" handpicked by union officials and the company.
Making a further mockery of the NLRB's election rules, NNOC union officials subpoenaed Glass to appear and testify under oath about the campaign to remove the union from her workplace. She was also directed to produce for union inspection all documents that the nurses created in their election campaign to oppose the NNOC union bosses.
In response, Foundation staff attorneys filed federal charges against NNOC and Rio Grande/HCA challenging the crude attempt to coercively interrogate Glass about her legally protected activities. Due to her representation by Foundation attorneys, Glass neither testified in the union-boss "arbitration" hearing nor produced a single document demanded by the union.
On September 6, 2012, NNOC union officials were forced to drop their objections to the nurses' decertification election and the NLRB Region in Texas certified the vote.
"So-called 'neutrality agreements' like this one between union officials and hospital management give union bosses license to browbeat and intimidate workers into acceding to unionization," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "These nurses endured union boss harassment and kangaroo courts to ultimately exercise their right to remove the unwanted union from their workplace."