4/27/08

Nurses decertify CNA, SEIU lies in wait

Registered nurses at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas voted out the California Nurses Association (CNA) as their union in an election this week. The decision by Scripps nurses to eject the CNA follows contract negotiations that didn't result in real improvements for nurses or patient care.

"Scripps nurses' vote to oust the CNA should be a wake up call to the union," said Lorraine Thiebaud, a registered nurse in San Francisco General Hospital's recovery unit and member of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1021. "CNA is spending millions of dollars in its members' dues money on efforts both inside and outside California that hurt nurses and other healthcare workers while neglecting their own members' needs to win improved pay and benefits, strong staffing ratios and new patient protections."

According to Scripps nurses, the CNA took credit for making improvements in the union contract finally settled last month that had already been in place. (http://allnurses.com/forums/f323/april-23rd-24th-california-nurses-association-decertification-election-297912.html).

This week's vote is the second by Scripps nurses to hold the CNA accountable for improving conditions for nurses at their hospital. In 2005, nurses protested the CNA and launched a website called www.NotInOurHouse.org but ultimately voted not to decertify the union at that time.

For months, the CNA has been mounting campaigns to persuade SEIU nurses to decertify their union in hospitals in states including California, Ohio, and Nevada. In California, the CNA's hostile efforts to raid hospitals represented by SEIU has even resulted in violence, with a CNA organizer arrested in early April for slapping an SEIU organizer and stomping on the foot of another while handing out decertification leaflets at a Los Angeles hospital ("Battle of the Nurses' Unions Turns Physical," Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2008).

In March, the CNA sabotaged a three-year effort to win a fair process for 8,300 nurses and other workers at Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP) hospitals in Ohio to freely choose whether to form a union with SEIU. Just six days before CHP workers were set to vote, CNA organizers came to Ohio to launch a vicious "vote no" campaign that ended in the cancellation of elections.

This week, the Alameda County Superior Court ordered an illegal temporary restraining order obtained by the CNA as a publicity stunt last week be thrown out after reviewing affidavits and other information contradicting the CNA's accusations that "5 male staffers were harassing CNA Board members." A video shows that a 54 year-old registered nurse and a 61 year-old respiratory therapist, both women, were going door-to-door to try to speak to CNA leadership (available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGw2QJTgw4I).

Related video: "Ohio SEIU organizers visit CNA Board Member"



(sunherald.com)

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