Union Officials at Pomona Valley Hospital Illegally Threaten Non-striking Nurses with Arrest, Jail, and Fines
**Pomona, CA (October 31, 2007)** – A nurse at the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center has filed unfair labor practice charges against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 121RN after SEIU union officials illegally threatened her and her coworkers with jail and fines. The nurses wished to resign from formal union membership, cut off union dues, and continue working during any union-ordered strike.
The charges come after the collective bargaining contract at the hospital expired and after union officials ordered a five day strike during October.
In response to the intimidation, nurse Carole Jean Badertscher filed the class action charges at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys. The charges detail how union officials misled and threatened employees in violation of the nurses’ rights under federal labor law. The charges also cite that union officials violated their so-called “duty of fair representation,” which is intended to prevent union discrimination against employees.
In a particularly egregious violation of the employees’ rights, a top local union official threatened that nurses who defied the union’s strike order could be subject to fines and criminal penalties, including 90 days in jail. The California law referenced by union officials is clearly pre-empted by federal labor law establishing that workers can remain at their jobs and avoid all union disciplinary fines if they first resign from formal union membership.
Union officials also distributed a flier illegally misleading the nurses, claiming that the NLRB requires employees to continue paying compulsory union dues after the expiration of a contract. The flier told nurses that, when a new contract goes into effect, union officials could require all employees to pay “back dues,” implying that they could be fired if they didn’t pay.
“Union officials are shamelessly flouting federal law in an effort to intimidate these nurses into heeding the union’s unpopular demands to turn their backs on their patients,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Unfortunately, in states like California where there is no Right to Work law prohibiting compulsory unionism, union officials face little accountability.”
The NLRB’s Regional Office will now investigate the charges and decide whether to issue a formal complaint and prosecute the union for unfair labor practices.