Was that legal?

  1. 2
    A friend of mine says she saw a memo a few years ago from upper management that went out to all the managers that said something like, "Management discourages union activity in this facility."

    She says after she saw that, she was afraid to even say the word "union" for fear of losing her job.

    Is that legal?
    Ludlow and laborer like this.

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 19 Comments...

  3. 7
    It is a very clear form of intimidation. It is a classic union busting activity.
    Atheos, Ludlow, laborer, and 4 others like this.
  4. 3
    I would think that such a memo would be unnecessary. Isn't it a given that management does not encourage union activity? I guess this place had the corporate mentality that their managers were not sharp. As far as legality, I would think there is a distinction between not encouraging such activity and prohibiting it. That would probably make the memo ok legal-wise. Also would think that the legal dept would have looked the memo over before it went out and said it was ok.
    laborer, RN4MERCY, and lindarn like this.
  5. 1
    This is very common and is just a drop in the bucket in what hospitals will do to prevent nurses from forming a union. Some of what is done is legally permissible, sometimes not.

    It's a much different atmosphere when hospitals and unions agree to free and fair election procedures, where employees have the chance to make up their own minds without fear and intimidation. But that doesn't happen nearly enough.

    That's why there are efforts to change federal law (and those that set and administer them).
    lindarn likes this.
  6. 6
    One thing to consider...Does the hospital even care if it's legal or not? The answer is no! If you do a risk/ benefit analysis for this kind of memo or other intimidation geared toward preventing collective action the benefit outweighs the risk for the employer.

    It is unlikely that they will get caught and if they did the penalty would be minimal. If it works the liklihood of nurses standing up and saying they think it is wrong is pretty minimal too- case in point your friend.

    The way to change the dynamic is for the nurses to realize their rights are infringed and sign a letter to management telling them so!
    Atheos, Ludlow, laborer, and 3 others like this.
  7. 1
    yes. This is quite legal. In fact, it would be ILLEGAL for management to support a union. New managers or managers who have never had any exposure to the National Labor Relations Act may be unaware and could find themselves in trouble for supporting a union in that position. I don't think it is intimidation just education.
    RN Power Ohio likes this.
  8. 2
    There is a BIG difference between support and intimidation. It is wrong to impede and use intimidation tactics to prevent collective activity. They are also not allowed to buddy up and choose a favorite union. Which is probably what Nancy2 is referring to as in company unionism.
    laborer and
  9. 3
    Tell your friend there is no reason to fear. I was very vocal in supporting the union at my last place of employment, in fact was the one who originally went to the ONA. I spoke on the radio and newspapers with my full name. Although the hospital was great at waging an anti union war, I never once felt that my job was in jeopardy. In fact, I feel you are a little safer when you are "out there" as you have labor relations laws to protect you and if they try to fire you it is obvious at sot why and they can be sued. Unfortunately that was about six years ago, and ONA pulled out on us as they didnt think we could win the election. I recently left this place of employment on my own and have since hired in to a new hospital with representation.
    laborer, herring_RN, and RN Power Ohio like this.
  10. 8
    Not only is it unlikely they will get caught but it is more cost effective if they are able to stop the formation of the union. The NLRB has been weak and the penalties are small for vilolation of the laws as established by the NRLA. Its like illegal dumping until the fines outway the cost then what is the deterent?

    It will only change when we decide we are not going to be intimidated and demand that we are given the rights as they are spelled out under the NLRA. This may mean some of us getting fired but if the rest of the nurses behind them don't back down then we can win this fight. We have the right to organize and should not tolerate the illegal and unethcal practices of managment without a fight.

    Write your congressman, senator, file charges with the NLRB, write your local papers, speak out on web forums like this one, just don't shut up or they win.
    Atheos, Ludlow, laborer, and 5 others like this.
  11. 6

Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors