For Immediate Release
Contact: Nancy Webber, 518.782.9400, ext. 223;
Mark Genovese, ext. 353
NEW YORK, NY - May 23, 2008 - The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) has filed an objection with National Labor Relations Board related to the May 14 union representation election at Peninsula Hospital in Queens.
Registered nurses voted in that election to decertify NYSNA in favor of Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union. In documents filed on May 21 with Region 29 of the NLRB, NYSNA stated that actions by the employer and 1199SEIU “severely and adversely affected the laboratory conditions required for an election and the exercise of employees’ free choice.”
“Both hospital administrators and 1199SEIU representatives made statements that implied an agreement existed between them that nurses would receive improved benefits if they decertified NYSNA,” said Lorraine Seidel, RN, director of the Nurses Association’s collective bargaining program. “During the weeks preceding the election, it appeared to us that the hospital and 1199SEIU were working together.”
According to one of the ten objections documented by NYSNA, hospital management sent a letter to nurses indicating that it would continue to fund their health benefits at current levels if 1199SEIU won the election. At the same time, in contract negotiations with NYSNA, hospital representatives were proposing to reduce nurses’ health benefits.
1199SEIU representatives made statements at employee meetings that, if nurses decertified NYSNA, the hospital would give them additional benefits, including pension and health benefits. They told nurses that these benefits would not be available if NYSNA won the election.
NYSNA further claims that the hospital dragged its feet in contract negotiations to prevent an agreement from being reached before the election date. “This conduct violated the employer’s duty to bargain in good faith with NYSNA and improperly interfered with the election process,” Seidel said.
As a remedy for the improper conduct surrounding the election, the Nurses Association has requested that the NLRB set aside the election and order the hospital to continue to bargain exclusively with NYSNA. As an alternative, the board could invalidate the election and order that a new vote be held.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 36,000 members, it is the state's largest union and professional association for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.