Tenet nurses form council to seek alternate union
Mon June 9, 2003 06:03 PM ET
LOS ANGELES, June 9 (Reuters) - Nurses from 22 Tenet Healthcare Corp. THC.N California hospitals said on Monday a statewide council to unionize under the California Nurses Association (CNA), challenging Tenet's agreement allowing workers to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The CNA says the council represents 62 percent of Tenet's registered nurses, and nurses at four more Tenet hospitals have filed for federally-supervised elections to join CNA.
On May 2, SEIU and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees forged an agreement with Tenet allowing employees in its 40 California facilities to join a union without employer opposition and guaranteeing immediate raises and a voice in patient care decisions.
The company said late last month that more than 2,500 health care professionals at six Tenet hospitals in California had voted to join with SEIU.
The CNA has said it plans to challenge the "illegal, fraudulent" deal as an attempt to bribe Tenet employees, deny them choice of representation and potentially harm patients.
CNA says that under their agreement with SEIU, Tenet employees would be locked into a long-term agreement decided in in closed door meetings with top management of Tenet and SEIU.
Tenet, the No. 2 U.S. hospital operator, is reeling from a series of blows, which culminated in the resignation last month of Tenet's chief executive amid allegations the company overcharged Medicare, the government's health insurance program for the elderly.
Last week, U.S. prosecutors charged the chief executive of a Tenet hospital near San Diego, Alvarado Hospital Medical Center, with offering kickbacks and bribes to doctors in return for patient referrals.