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