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CNA's Union-Busting in Ohio-An Open Letter

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this week, nearly 8,000 nurses and other healthcare workers in ohio saw their dreams of forming a union derailed after the california nurses association (cna) flooded the state with hostile organizers and bombarded workers with wildly false and misleading leaflets and phone calls urging them to vote against the union.

for three years the workers joined with service employees international union (seiu) members, leaders and staff to form their union. they sent letters to catholic healthcare partners (chp) officials, mobilized community support, campaigned for fair organizing rules, and signed petitions saying they wanted to unite in seiu. the effort resulted in ground rules agreed to by both the workers and chp that were designed to put the interests of workers first—not the union or employer. they called for quick elections without delays, equal access to information from both sides, and guidelines to ensure honest discourse.

because of the union-busting onslaught by cna, the ethical, fair and democratic elections scheduled for today and friday at nine (chp) hospitals in ohio have been suspended.

the following is an open letter from those os us nurses who were denied the chance to unite this week for better jobs and healthcare to rose ann demoro, executive director of the california nurses association:

march 12, 2008

dear rose ann demoro,

it’s hard for us to imagine how someone who calls herself a labor leader could purposely do what you have done to us and our families. you don’t know any of us. you have never been to our homes or met our children. you have never visited us on our shifts, or walked in our shoes. you don’t know a thing a bout the struggle that brought us to the verge of our dream to have a union. and yet without talking to a single one of us you send your bullying staff to come in and spread terrible lies for no other reason than to destroy what we worked so hard to build.

for three years we have worked with seiu members, leaders and staff to form our union. we sent letters to hospital officials and mobilized community support for fair organizing rules. seiu has supported and encouraged us through some very hard times, and helped us stand up for ourselves. we are caregivers—registered nurses and respiratory therapists, dietary and housekeeping staff, lab techs and other employees. seiu helped us understand how we could do more by speaking with one voice and standing together for our families and our patients. seiu respected our intelligence and our ability to make our own decisions.

you say you stand for democracy. but then you come in with a goal of destroying our campaign without ever asking us what we think about seiu and our agreement for fair election ground rules—ground rules we now understand you have made use of many times in california.

you say you stand for justice. but then you deny us our opportunity for a fair vote free of misleading propaganda and scare tactics.

our efforts to unite for better jobs and health care were not a secret. at any time during those three years you could have come and presented your union, compared yourself to seiu, and asked us to make a choice. but you didn’t. so it is obvious to us that your sole intention was to destroy what we have built. what kind of organization sets out to destroy the efforts of the very people you claim to stand for, and then tries to pretend it’s a moral cause?

here in ohio, union organizers and representatives don’t behave the way yours do. they show respect for hard-working people. we have read all the words about how you try to justify this, but when compared to the needs of our families and the needs of our patients, they show a complete disregard for basic fairness and decency. you have brought harm to thousands of workers and families in ohio, and you should be ashamed of what you have done.

signed,

linda kirby, rn

mercy anderson

anderson township, oh

sue koch

er tech

mercy western hills

cincinnati, oh

barbara matlie, rn

mercy western hills

cincinnati, oh

michaela silver, rcp

springfield regional medical center

springfield, oh

diana stamler, rn

mercy fairfield

fairfield, oh

sally baker, rn

springfield regional medical center

springfield, oh

mary ann wolf,

lead cook

mercy anderson

anderson township, oh

peggy vaughn, rn

mercy western hills

cincinnati, oh

sue allen, rn

springfield regional medical center

springfield, oh

lorie compton, rcp

mercy memorial hospital

urbana, oh

colleen gresham, rn

mercy mt. airy

cincinnati, oh

betty white, mlt

mercy fairfield

fairfield, oh

susan home, rn

mercy mt. airy

cincinnati, oh

alecia davis, rn

springfield regional medical center

springfield, oh

marianne heider, rn

mercy western hills

cincinnati, oh

Way to go Linda! It's great to see the real RNs of CHP saying what the truth is about this horrible situation.

Linda-

It's so awful to hear what has happened to you in Ohio. That other organization should be completely ashamed of itself for destroying all to work you and your coworkers have done in the last years!!! How can they pretend to care about raising standards for nurses and healthcare professionals when they are busting up union efforts? It doesn't make any sense to me. How disgusting.

CNA has done a very destructive and vicious thing this week, and the AFL-CIO did nothing to stop them. Shame on both. 8000 families that could have been improving their lives will have to wait longer. And for what? CNA didn't bother to get on the ballot at any time during the past three years. They don't want anything to do with the non-RNs and couldn't care less whether the LPNs, technologists, housekeepers, etc. live or die. It's a sad moment in the history of labor except for one thing: CNA has exposed itself for the egomaniac-directed organization it is. CNA is in it just for CNA. Go back to California and let healthcare workers organize for a better life in Ohio and elsewhere.

RN Power Ohio

Specializes in Med/Surg/Tele, Hem/Onc, BMT. Has 15 years experience.

CNA has done a very destructive and vicious thing this week, and the AFL-CIO did nothing to stop them. Shame on both. 8000 families that could have been improving their lives will have to wait longer. And for what? CNA didn't bother to get on the ballot at any time during the past three years. They don't want anything to do with the non-RNs and couldn't care less whether the LPNs, technologists, housekeepers, etc. live or die. It's a sad moment in the history of labor except for one thing: CNA has exposed itself for the egomaniac-directed organization it is. CNA is in it just for CNA. Go back to California and let healthcare workers organize for a better life in Ohio and elsewhere.

I am sorry that you are feeling that this action was unjust. It is important to recognize the bigger picture. If compromising the voice and rights of workers becomes the norm then there could be significant and damaging ramifications to the entire labor movement in the US.

NNOC Ohio along with the ONA felt strongly that information about the circumventing of the process established by the NLRA needed to be exposed.

If SEIU and CHP had demonstrated the support of workers in a democratic manner that is typically done then no one would have objected to this election. Those of you who signed this open letter were involved in the process of organization with SEIU the majority of other employees were not. This is unfair to the others as they should have the right to be informed and have time to deliberate and choose their representation.

You should proceed to organize with whomever you choose but it should be done according to the law in a manner that includes all involved in the decision making process. All should have the time to consider such an important decision. The majority of CHP Ohio employees did not know anything about this until they received a letter in the mail. How would you feel if this happened to you? Suspicious? Anxious? Excited? Unsure? Angry? These are the emotions that many of your co-workers were subjected to.

Now that the concept of organization is on the table in your workplace there can be and should be a collective discussion about what organization is right for each employee.

http://www.ReformSEIU.org.

I am sorry that you are feeling that this action was unjust.

I don't "feel" that this action was unjust. The proof is that 8000 healthcare workers have no representation tonight after three years of working to achieve it. As for your gazillions of postings--you must not have a job right now or you'd have something better to do than fill the internet with such misinformation.

RN Power Ohio

Specializes in Med/Surg/Tele, Hem/Onc, BMT. Has 15 years experience.

The proof is that 8000 healthcare workers have no representation tonight after three years of working to achieve it.

If 8000 workers were working on this then why were no cards signed? Why did the employer file for the election?

I do not understand how this could happen without a deal between the union and the employer.

SEIU has done some great things for workers- NNOC & SEIU works well with each other in different areas of the country. This was a bad deal that would set a bad precedent. NNOC does NOT stand isolated in this opinion.

"It is important to recognize the bigger picture. If compromising the voice and rights of workers becomes the norm then there could be significant and damaging ramifications to the entire labor movement in the US. "

How about the idea of negotiating (not compromising) to achieve a new paradigm which allows people to educate themselves and make thoughtful decisions leading to a meaningful partnership between employers and employees? Why does it have to be the old, out-dated "labor vs. management" fight that hasn't behooved anyone for the last 35 years? The only reason for not working cooperatively is if someone is looking only for a power-grab... CNA, anyone? Power and money...neither attracts people into the nursing profession, but, boy, that doesn't stop the old-fashioned union bosses from trying.

lizzyj

Specializes in community health. Has 25 years experience.

Hey there-lets have a reality check and put this into a larger perspective-

Under its current leadership (Andy Stern), SEIU has repeatedly signed deals with employers that compromise RN (and other employyees) standards, scope of practice, and endanger patients in exchange for getting more and more new members. It's purely a numbers gain for SEIU.

SEIU has signed off on hosital closures, lobbied for hospitals against reforms to crack down on unsafe conditions and supports proposals to erode nursing practice.

SEIU JOINED CA.'S HOSITAL INDUSTRY IN LOBBYING AGAINST NNOC/ CNA's HISTORIC RN-TO-PATIENT RATIOS. T

hey continue to sponsor and lobby for weakended fake staffing bills in states all throughout the country while NNOC has introduced and is fighting for real ratio laws in Ohio, Ilinois, Texas, Arizona and Maine,

Hey colleagues-the proof is in the pudding. Ca.'s ratios ( authored, lobbyed, and defended all by CNA alone) have proved to be tremendously successful-since the law was signed there are 86,000 more active license RNs in the state...many of them travelers who have worked in CNA hospitals and decide to take residence in an enviroment where they can provide quality care as well as retire with dignity.

Questions anyone?

i found this in one of the local papers where these elections were scheduled. it makes all the pious arguments from cna about these nurses being lucky to not have seiu seem pretty hollow.

nurse union sinks effort at peaceful vote

thursday, march 13, 2008

three's a crowd when it comes to the attempt to settle a long running dispute between springfield regional medical center and a union that has waged a struggle to represent its workers.

an unusual deal to settle the question appeared to have been reached between the hospital and the service employees international union to hold a non-contentious vote on unionization.

the california nurses union, no friend of the seiu, had other ideas. it entered the process at the last minute bearing a monkey wrench.

the vote set here for wednesday, march 12, was called off after the rival union sent representatives into the hospitals here to talk to workers. that poisoned the effort to skip the usual histrionics that too often mark such votes. the idea was to let local workers decide without a lot of pressure from either side.

the nurse's union arrived saying the seiu would be the hospital's poodle in negotiations if it won the right to negotiate.

the california union claims the vote agreement was the result of collusion.

a deal to negotiate a weak contract in exchange for allowing the seiu to represent workers would be illegal.

if the nurses union has proof of such a deal, it should come forward with it.

on the surface, the seiu doesn't appear to be milquetoast in its relations with management.

it has waged a three-year, angry battle here and elsewhere at ohio hospitals that are part of the catholic healthcare partners system. there was no love lost between the union and the hospital.

elsewhere, the seiu has called on nurses to strike for a contracts, a decidedly unpoodle-like behavior.

one of the main reasons that the hospital decided to allow a representation vote is the pressure brought by the seiu, the afl-cio and other unions on catholic bishops to make catholic healthcare partners stop fighting unionization efforts, according to a new york times report.

the consolidation of community hospital and mercy medical center has left many hospital workers confused, angry and fearful. some complain that health care here has suffered as the hospital has tried to stem the flow of red ink.

it may be fertile ground for a union.

if workers really want to unionize, their desire has been at least postponed.

[color=#003399]http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/o/content/oh/story/opinions/editorial/2008/03/13/sns031308editunion_r.html

If SEIU and CHP had demonstrated the support of workers in a democratic manner that is typically done then no one would have objected to this election. Those of you who signed this open letter were involved in the process of organization with SEIU the majority of other employees were not. This is unfair to the others as they should have the right to be informed and have time to deliberate and choose their representation.

...

Now that the concept of organization is on the table in your workplace there can be and should be a collective discussion about what organization is right for each employee.

www.ReformSEIU.org.

Clearly you did not read the above letter from employees who actually work at these hospitals! They have been unionizing for three years and the cna never approached them until their out of state organizers went to try to get them to vote no! This is not about a "concept of organization" this is about nurses finally having a chance at hospitals all over ohio to have a real seat at the table, and having it pulled out from under them by a purported nurses organization.:scrying:

My goodness, how did we get on to "my bill is stronger than your bill"?

THIS IS ABOUT CNA ACTING AS A UNION BUSTER.

One of labor's main issues is to get a "freedom to organize" bill passed, so workers will be able to vote for a union, free from interference, intimidation, and harrassment--sounds like the neutrality agreements both SEIU and CNA have participated in before, and like the one in Ohio. (Although, previously, most of us would have thought the freedom was from employers doing these things--not from unions!)

Is the CNA suddenly opposed to freedom to organize on principle? Or just when you are not on the ballot???

Do you want this vicious in-fighting to go on forever?

Or did CNA just want to bust up an election for 8000 workers because they were not there? (that would be a "yes".)

CNA would not even allow a large portion of those healthcare workers into their organization, so their function was purely as a spoiler.

No matter what justifications you offer up for it, CNA harmed those workers. If CNA wanted in, they had 3 years to act--but that is not their modus operandi.

They would rather destroy workers' chances at a better life.

Shame on you, CNA.

CNA has done some real damage when it comes to RN unionizing. They have yet to actually find nurses who want to be in a barganing unit and help them organize, instead, they choose to wage combat with SEIU and then nurses are back to where they started. On their own, struggling with management and the issues that brought the nurses together in the first place.

klbackus

Specializes in Health Policy, Cardiac Intensive Care. Has 13 years experience.

My heart goes out to Linda and the other RNs at Catholic Health Partners who have had their dreams shattered by CNA--a so-call patient advocacy organization and so-called union.

My nursing career has been dedicated to advancing nurses' voices in our hospitals, our communities, our state legislatures and in Congress. I've chosen to work with the Service Employees Internation Union (SEIU) because it is the best organization to advocate for professional nurses in all of these areas.

The California Nurses Association (CNA) stooped to an all-time low when it interfered in a democratic election whereby 8,000 nurses and other hospital employees could choose whether or not they wanted to form a union with SEIU. Now, those caregivers are left without a voice--not SEIU, not CNA.

This is just another ill-spirited maneuver that threatens our patients and our profession. Time and time again, CNA has used whatever means necessary, including lies, threats, and intimidation, to prevent healthcare employees from uniting in SEIU--these are not virtues that our profession stands for. And these tactics aren't isolated to one state, much less the state of California where 100,000 RNs are without a union. I've seen it in St. Louis, Chicago, Reno, Las Vegas, Memphis and more.

Even hospital union-busting consultants don't go this low.

Good grief to both sides . . . . saying that "caregivers are left without a voice" if SEIU or CNA aren't representing nurses. :vlin:Hyperbole!

No one is muzzling me. I have a voice. And I'm proudly non-union.

You both are behaving badly and sounding like the old style union thugs.

Shame on both of you.

steph

It is very disturbing that the CNA is spending their time disrupting the union organizing efforts of SEIU. At a time when less than 8% of private sector workers are organized--it is clear that there is plenty of NEW territory. How can Rose DeMoro pass herself off as a tradeunionist when her strategic plan is the destruction of RN & other HEalth care worker organizing. There is not ONE nursing organization and there is not one way to organize. Clearly the open letter indicates the workers at CHP knew what they wanted and who they wanted to organize with. Did it ever occur to the CNA in their arrogant wisdom that the Boss filed for the election believing the Union would lose??? It is actions like the CNA interference that promotes the negative stereotypes of unions and promotes the demise of tradeunionism in this country. Having witnessed CNA negative tactics in St. Louis---I can only say I was proud that SEIU was principled and honest in their communications & support of the Nurses at St John's. The leadership rose above the sewer tactics of the CNA.

And so it goes . . . . :argue:

I'm noticing most of the posters just joined and only have a few posts . . . . hmmmmm.

steph

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