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Nurses want union recognized

Ben Godar

Nurses at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center are speaking out

against hospital officials they say refuse to recognize the union

they voted to form in September.

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Nurses voted 270-223 to form a union with the Service Employees

International Union. However, with 56 votes contested by hospital and

union officials, it wasn’t until a January ruling by the National

Labor Relations Board that the union was judged to have the necessary

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majority.

The ruling also denied objections by hospital officials, who

alleged union organizers interfered with and coerced nurses on the

day of the election. Hospital officials have appealed that ruling to

the national branch of the labor board and have not entered into

collective bargaining talks with the nurses.

With the support of more than a dozen labor unions, SEIU

officials launched a campaign Wednesday challenging the hospital to

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“listen to your employees.”

At a rally outside the hospital that day, actor Troy Evans, who

plays Frank on NBC’s “ER,” said hospital officials should not

marginalize the care provided by the nurses.

“It’s time for St. Joseph’s, which is a great hospital, to get off

the dime and recognize these wonderful nurses and get on with the

business of taking care of patients,” he said.

Cindy Triola, a registered nurse who has worked at Providence for

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more than 17 years, said she and other nurses are dedicated to the

hospital but accused hospital officials of trying to pit the nurses

against each other.

“They’ve made it a choice, if you’re for the union, you’re not for

the hospital,” Triola said. “We’re for the union and for the

hospital.”

While Providence spokesman Dan Boyle said it was possible there

were incidents of animosity between individuals, it hasn’t affected

the operation of the hospital.

“We haven’t seen it have an impact on patient care,” he said.

Although hospital officials have not recognized the union, Boyle

said that will change if the labor board denies the hospital’s

appeal.

“We’re going to abide by all rules and regulations of the NLRB,”

he said.


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