2/13/08

Strike-happy SEIU served with decert election

Nurses at Pomona (CA) Valley Hospital Medical Center will vote Wednesday and Thursday to consider decertifying their union. More than 300 nurses at the hospital signed a petition submitted in December to end representation by the Service Employees International Union, Local 121RN, which has represented nurses at the hospital since 2003.

The union, which represents about 1,000 nurses at Pomona Valley, called for multiple strikes last fall during contract negotiations with the hospital. A new contract was ratified by nurses in December.

"There's a large group of nurses that did not support the actions of last fall when the (union) asked for the nurses to go on strike," said Jeannie Badertscher, a nurse who supports decertification.

Frankie Coley, a nurse at the hospital for 17 years who opposes the union, said that benefits, scheduling and patient-care issues raised by the union "are not issues at Pomona Valley Hospital."

"And (nurse/patient) ratios that the union has brought up are mandated by the state," Coley said. "I don't think we need a second or third party regulating us when the state already regulates ratios."

Sue Weinstein, executive director of the union, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Voting will take place at the hospital in three sessions each day - from 6 to 9 a.m., noon to 3 p.m., and 6 to 9 p.m., said hospital spokeswoman Kathy Roche.

At least 50 percent of voting nurses must approve decertification for it to pass, Roche said.

Ballots are expected to be tallied Thursday night, Badertscher said.

(sbsun.com)

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