Union and hospital officials entered into underhanded agreement to foist union representation on nurses
El Paso, TX (December 19, 2012) – Two local hospitals are facing a federal prosecution for denying access to nurses opposed to unionization while giving union organizers preferential access in order to unionize the nurses.
In the wake of federal charges filed by two nurses with free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Phoenix issued formal complaints against Tenet Hospitals Ltd. and its two hospitals in El Paso, Providence Memorial Hospital and Sierra Medical Center.
California Nurses Association-affiliated National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC) union officials entered into a "neutrality agreement" with Tenet designed to grease the skids for the nurses' unionization. Tenet was applying that agreement when it took its illicit action to discriminate against nurses opposed to NNOC union representation.
The "neutrality agreement" gives union organizers wide-ranging access to employee break rooms, lounges, and other company facilities. On the other hand, Tenet refused to grant nurses who oppose unionization equal access to its facilities, going so far as to change workplace procedures to deny off-duty nurses access to company facilities.
Despite the company's blatant viewpoint discrimination, a group of nurses led by Registered Nurses Jose Rodriguez of Sierra Medical Center and Perry Pielaet of Providence Memorial Hospital are working to educate their fellow nurses about the impact of unionization. Rodriguez and Pielaet filed the charges that spurred the NLRB's investigation into the matter.
"So-called 'neutrality agreements' like this one between union officials and hospital management are hardly neutral: They give union organizers license to browbeat and intimidate workers into acceding to unionization," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Unfortunately, Tenet management is selling out its workers and aiding union bosses' quest to unionize every nurse in the country."