UAW Local in Ohio strains to get message

After years of battling Toledo Hospital to represent its workers, the United Auto Workers canceled a rescheduled vote set for this week. The new election, ordered by the National Labor Relations Board, came after the union lost a series of representation elections at the hospital in 2001.

The union quietly withdrew its petition two weeks ago, said Randy Malloy, an assistant to the regional director of the NLRB office in Cleveland. The election was for the UAW's ability to represent about 1,300 janitors, cafeteria workers, secretaries, and other support-services employees at the hospital owned by ProMedica Health System Inc. UAW Region 2-B officials were unavailable for comment.

In a statement yesterday, ProMedica said the hospital was pleased about the cancellation. "Throughout this process, we have always desired to preserve the direct relationship that exists between the leadership and employees of our organization without third-party representation," the statement said.

The union in 2001 lost elections involving nurses, practical nurses, laboratory, radiology, and operating room technicians. But the labor board investigated a complaint that hospital officials had interfered illegally in the election involving the support services workers by creating the impression that promised wage increases would be in jeopardy if the UAW won.

In late 2004, the labor board ordered a new election. Eventually, it was rescheduled for this week.

The UAW represents nurses and other workers at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.


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