Healthcare News & Insights

Hospitals charged with union-busting tactics

Efforts to form a nurse’s union at two hospitals have led to union-busting complaints by the National Labor Relations Board.

Nurses at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings, Montana and St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California have been engaged in a debate over whether to unionize. In both cases, the NLRB claims administrators improperly disciplined and/or discouraged staffers who were involved in organizing efforts.

Both hospitals are run by the Sisters of Christian Charity, based in Leavenworth, Kansas.

According to the complaints by the NLRB:

  • A St. Vincent’s manager removed organizing materials from an employee lounge and warned that anyone caught distributing more material would be disciplined. The nurse involved in that incident was immediately put on leave and eventually fired. As part of her termination paperwork, she was barred from contacting other employees of the hospital.
  • St. John’s managers also threatened to discipline workers who were trying to organize, implied that nurses were under surveillance and questioned them about their involvement in the unionizing effort. Management also said it would call the police to remove any union-supporting nurses who came to the hospital when they were off-duty.

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