11/18/08

Union disputes workers' decertification

More union-decertification stories: here

Typical labor-state collective bargaining SNAFU

Most nurses with Fremont-Rideout Health Group's two local hospitals have not signed a petition asking to remove the California Nurses Association as their bargaining representative, CNA contends — while Fremont-Rideout says otherwise.

Liz Jacobs, a registered nurse and spokeswoman for the statewide nurses association, questioned the hospital group's claim Friday that a majority of nurses at Rideout Memorial Hospital in Marysville and Fremont Medical Center in Yuba City signed the petition.

"Are these current employees" Jacobs asked Monday of the petition.

Because of contract-related issues, she added, "there's been an exodus of experienced RNs."

But Trehsa Moreland, vice-president of human resources for Fremont-Rideout, said that the signatures have been verified.

"We are confident that, if challenged, the withdrawal will be upheld," Moreland said of the petition asking to end CNA representation.

About 450 nurses work for Fremont-Rideout. They voted in 2006 to join the CNA and have been in contentious salary negotiations with Fremont-Rideout for the past two years.

Some nurses started collecting signatures to decertify the union a year ago and have to turn the petitions into the National Labor Relations Board.

Olivia Garcia, regional attorney for the labor board at its San Francisco office, said Monday that the federal agency has not received a new petition.

Jacobs said of the dispute that, "nurses got the clear message that if they continue to support the union — CNA — they'd never get their raises."

Moreland said Fremont-Rideout is moving forward to ensure the competitiveness of wages and benefits and "will work in other ways to help build a strong relationship built on open dialogue and trust."

(appeal-democrat.com)

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