Union officials forced to settle case involving illegal strike fine threats against nurse who refused to abandon patients
Minneapolis, MN (December 2, 2016) – After months of waiting, Minnesota nurse Crystal Rehbein has finally won her battle against the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) union officials who tried to discipline her for resigning from the union and continuing to take care of her patients in defiance of a union boss-ordered walkout.
In early June of this year, Rehbein sent a certified letter resigning her membership in the MNA, shortly before the MNA hierarchy announced a weeklong strike at Allina Health Hospitals. As a non-member, Rehbein then exercised her right to continue working and take care of her patients. Following the strike, she was notified by the union brass that her resignation had been rejected, and the MNA continued forcing her to pay dues.
In early August, MNA officials informed Rehbein that internal charges had been brought against her for continuing to work during the strike, and threatened her with fines, reprimand, or censure. Consequently, Rehbein, with the assistance of National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, then filed federal unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, stating that the union charges and continued collection of dues were unlawful.
Finding merit to Rehbein’s filing, the NLRB Region 18 office arranged a settlement in the case. Under the settlement, MNA officials must post a notice for 60 days in the hospitals where Rehbein and two other charging parties work, notifying all MNA members of their rights. Those rights include, but are not limited to, the right to resign at any time without any specific form, the right to pay dues on a monthly basis if they so choose, and most importantly the right of non-members to continue working during a strike without penalties and threats from the union representatives.
“This is a victory for a brave nurse who chose to exercise her right to continue to work and provide for her family, and to continue providing medical care to her patients,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Sadly, cases like this just emphasize how much Minnesota needs a Right to Work law to protect its workers from these kinds of tactics used by Big Labor operatives.”
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.