California Nurses Want Federally Supervised Union Elections at Tenet Hospitals

  1. May 30, 2003 03:24 AM
    May 30--The California Nurses Association filed on Thursday with the National Labor Relations Board for federally supervised union elections at Western Medical Center-Santa Ana and four other California hospitals owned by Tenet Healthcare Corp.
    CNA had petitioned the NLRB earlier this month for union elections at eight other Tenet hospitals, including Los Alamitos Medical Center and Coastal Communities Hospital.
    The move intensifies a battle between CNA and two other labor groups--Service Employees International Union and United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals--which recently signed an agreement with Tenet calling for raises of as much as 29percent over four years. Under the agreement, Tenet would facilitate union elections by SEIU or UNAC at its 40 hospitals in California.
    The CNA, which organizes only registered nurses, has asked the NLRB to nullify Tenet's pact with SEIU and UNAC, saying it is illegal and amounts to the company "hand-picking" its unions.
    Sonia Moseley, executive vice president at UNAC, said that even if the NLRB mandates federally supervised elections, her union would contest CNA at all Tenet hospitals in Orange and San Diego counties. "We welcome a fair contest with an even playing field," Chuck Idelson, CNA's spokesman said.
    Tenet spokesman Steve Campanini said that at hospitals where SEIU or UNAC win, whether in private elections or federally administered ones, the terms of the deal would apply. "Either there's a vote for CNA, which would likely result in a protracted strike as they haggle over a contract. Or there's a vote for SEIU/UNAC, which would result in an immediate 8 percent raise," he said. "Or the employees could vote no union representation at all."
    To see more of The Orange County Register, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to <>
  2. Visit pickledpepperRN profile page

    About pickledpepperRN

    Joined: Mar '99; Posts: 13,361; Likes: 1,375


  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    Alvarado nurses look at rival union

    Tenet's model contract not acceptable to them
    By Michael Kinsman
    May 30, 2003

    Fearful that they were being steered toward a union of management's choosing, nurses at Alvarado Hospital Medical Center yesterday said they are seeking affiliation with a competing union.
    The California Nurses Association said it is seeking to represent nurses at five hospitals owned by Tenet Healthcare Corp. of Santa Barbara, including Alvarado.
    An estimated 350 to 400 nurses work at the San Diego hospital.
    Susan Gorney, a nurse in the intensive care unit of Alvarado, said the nurses sought out CNA after it learned that Tenet had begun negotiating with the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees.
    Tenet had reached agreement with the union on a so-called model contract for its hospitals where unionization efforts popped up. The model contract includes such pro-management tools as a nonstrike clause and mandatory arbitration.
    "We were being pushed into a union that we hadn't chosen," Gorney said. "It's like representation without representation."
    CNA represents about 50,000 nurses statewide, including a combined 2,000 at UCSD Medical Center, the San Diego Blood Bank and the Palomar Pomerado Health District in North County.
    Tenet spokesman Steven Campanini denied that SEIU/AFSCME was being foisted upon hospital workers.
    "This is a model union contract that we think helps us in the California marketplace," he said. "A union alliance like this helps us move forward when we are dealing with regulatory issues. We call it a strategic business move."
    He said the model contract could be used to streamline labor negotiations, provide for stable, predictable labor costs over the course of a contract and to align management, employees and union officials to work on issues of mutual interest.
    Tenet operates 40 hospitals in California and is the largest hospital company in the state.
    He said the SEIU/AFSCME model contract calls for up to an 8 percent pay raise the first year, and additional raises of up to 7 percent in each of three additional years.
    Still, the idea of a management-selected union didn't sit well with nurses at Alvarado, Gorney said.
    "I didn't like it, and most of the nurses I know didn't like it," she said.
    Upon learning of the model contract in early May, the nurses contacted CNA.
    "We wanted a union that would represent us, and CNA only represents nurses," Gorney said. "We did not want a union that we thought was working behind our backs."
    She complained that Alvarado pays nurses less than other medical centers in the community and that nurses have no pension plan other than a 401(k) savings plan.
    The two unions likely will collect signatures of nurses to secure a union election. Campanini said that if a union election is held, nurses might have a choice between the SEIU/AFSCME, CNA or no union.
    Last week, 725 nurses at the Palomar Pomerado Health District approved their first-ever bargaining agreement through the CNA. That three-year contract calls for a 22 percent pay increase the first year and additional raises over the next two years to a total of 30 percent.
    Experienced nurses in the Poway/Escondido region can now earn $37.91 per hour, or about $73,000 a year. Beginning nurses can earn $25 per hour, or $48,000 per year.
    In addition to Alvarado Hospital, CNA said it has begun organizing efforts at four other Tenet hospitals: Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, Midway Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles, Western Medical Center in Santa Ana and Twin Cities Community Hospital near Paso Robles.
    About 35 percent of the state's hospitals have unionized nursing staffs, said CNA spokesman Charles Idelson. He said CNA's membership has doubled over the past five years and the union now is in 150 facilities.

    Michael Kinsman: (619) 293-1370;
  4. by   pickledpepperRN
    Nurses seek union election

    The California Nurses Association asked the federal labor board Thursday to hold a union election at Doctors Medical Center of Modesto, where almost 900 registered nurses are employed.
    Union officials filed the petition with the National Labor Relations Board after at least 30 percent of the nurses signed interest cards.
    All sides agree that the election is at least six weeks away and a majority who vote would have to favor representation in order for the union to be approved.
    Some nurses supporting the union said they were upset when hospital owner Tenet Healthcare Corp. announced an alliance with the rival Service Employees International Union. That agreement offered a raise of 29 percent over four years for nurses to join.
    Janet Petrides, a veteran nurse at DMC, said money is not the only issue.
    "I didn't think we needed union representation until the hospital decided to pick one for us," she said. "That is when a lot of us got more active in looking for a union. I don't think a union chosen by the hospital is going to do what's in the best interest of employees."
    Petrides said she and other nurses also want a retirement package and better health plan. She noted that the Tenet-SEIU deal offers immediate raises of 8 percent but insists that any improved benefits come out of nurses' salaries.
    The nurses association also asked for elections at four Tenet-owned hospitals in Southern California on Thursday, and earlier this month filed petitions for eight other Tenet facilities. The association is recognized at five of Tenet's 42 hospitals in California.
    DMC spokeswoman Catherine Larsen said hospital management had not seen the association's petition, so it could not confirm if enough nurses had signed.
    "Even if they had collected union cards from nurses, that does not mean they will represent our employees," she said. "A vote still has to happen."
    Nurses will likely have three choices in an election: the CNA, SEIU or no union. That's because a federal ruling allows SEIU to get on the ballot if one employee signs a card.
    Larsen said the alliance with SEIU was a peaceful way to union representation without disrupting patient care and with no threat of a strike. The deal includes a no-strike clause.
    "We respect their right to seek union representation," she said. "At the same time, we feel we can work best with employees without the involvement of a union."
    The Tenet-SEIU accord provided for elections outside what is sometimes considered a time-consuming federal process. But the nurses association petition pre-empts such an election at DMC.
    Lisa Hubbard of SEIU said since the alliance was announced in early May, the union has prevailed in elections at five Tenet hospitals.
    She noted that the nurses association has to wait for federal hearings on its petitions and the company can challenge the eligibility of nurses who signed interest cards.
    "What the registered nurses will face at Modesto is a long wait for an NLRB election," Hubbard said, predicting an August vote at the earliest. "Registered nurses (elsewhere) who voted for SEIU are getting raises and already making plans to establish patient-care committees."
    DMC nurse Janet Pettit said she favors SEIU because of its clout. "Tenet is a large national corporation that is very powerful, and I think we need to have a national union to represent employees. We need to go in as equals, and I don't think CNA has a proven track record of dealing with Tenet."
    But the association charged that any such "backroom deal" with a historically anti-union company such as Tenet is suspect.
    Beth Kean, statewide organizing director for the CNA, called the model SEIU contract substandard and noted that the association won a three-year contract at a San Diego hospital that included 30-percent raises and other gains.
    "I have never seen a registered nurses contract where the only improvement was salaries," she said.
    Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at 578-2321 or kcarlson@

    Posted on 05/30/03 05:40:14
  5. by   pickledpepperRN
    Union Seeks to Enroll Nurses at 5 Tenet Sites
    Filing by the California Nurses Assn. would seek to represent 2,300 and intensify a battle with two rival labor organizations.
    By Ronald D. White
    Times Staff Writer

    May 29, 2003

    The California Nurses Assn. is expected today to file a petition with the federal labor board that seeks to unionize registered nurses at five more hospitals owned by Tenet Healthcare Corp., the state's largest hospital operator.

    The move would bring to 13 the number of Tenet hospitals the nurses group is formally seeking to unionize, and it would intensify a battle CNA is waging against two rival unions-the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

    This month Tenet, which operates 40 hospitals in the state, made a deal with the SEIU and AFSCME that essentially opened the doors to those unions to organize at Tenet hospitals and would guarantee certain wage increases for those who join the unions.

    The CNA is challenging the legality of that agreement with the National Labor Relations Board and is trying to be first to the punch in holding union votes at some Tenet hospitals. Its petition to be filed today will seek to represent 2,300 registered nurses at five Tenet hospitals: Doctors Medical Center of Modesto, Alvarado Hospital Medical Center in San Diego, Midway Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles, Western Medical Center-Santa Ana and Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton.

    "It's a dramatic signal that Tenet registered nurses want representation by the nurses association," David M. Johnson, the CNA's Southern California director, said Wednesday. The nurses group currently represents four Tenet hospitals.

    The SEIU and AFSCME combined have labor pacts at eight Tenet hospitals and are pressing ahead with their campaigns to organize more facilities. On Wednesday, SEIU spokeswoman Lisa Hubbard said the union had won elections at five Tenet hospitals this month.

    Tenet spokesman Steve Campanini said gathering signatures alone does not mean that the nurses association will win the right to represent the nurses.

    The Santa Barbara-based hospital chain, which is trying to recover from numerous legal battles and government probes, this month sought to soften its tough labor climate by forging a pact with the SEIU and AFSCME that would guarantee unionized workers pay raises of 8% in the first year and 7% in each of the next three years.

    If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at
  6. by   pickledpepperRN
  7. by   pickledpepperRN
    Tenet Says the IRS Seeking $269 Million
    Mon June 2, 2003 09:15 AM ET
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tenet Healthcare Inc. THC.N , the No. 2 U.S. hospital operator, said the U.S. Internal Revenue Service is asking it to pay about $269 million in additional taxes and interest for the years 1995, 1996 and 1997.
    The adjustment includes $157 million in taxes and an estimated $112 million in interest, Tenet said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
    Tenet, which saw its chief executive resign last week, said it disputes the ruling and will appeal the decision.