NLRB General Counsel Orders Prosecution of SEIU Union Officials for Illegally Threatening Non-Striking Nurses
Union bosses threatened Pomona Valley nurses with arrests, jail time, and financial penalties for refusing to abandon their patients
Los Angeles, California (May 27, 2008) – National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Ronald Meisburg has granted an appeal filed by National Right to Work Foundation attorneys for union-abused nurses at the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center. The federal government will now prosecute Service Employee International Union (SEIU) Local 121 RN union officials for threatening nurses with financial penalties and arrest for refusing to abandon their patients during a union-ordered strike.
In October of 2007, SEIU Local 121 RN officials ordered a general strike after the nurses’ collective bargaining agreement with the hospital expired. In an effort to intimidate nurses into toeing the union line, SEIU officials told nurses that refusal to strike could result in financial penalties or even arrest – citing an unenforceable California state law. Nurse Carole Jeane Badertscher, a non-union member, subsequently contacted the National Right to Work Foundation for free legal assistance and filed class action unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB Regional Director.
After the NLRB Regional Director declined to prosecute, Foundation attorneys filed an appeal with the NLRB’s General Counsel. Following a lengthy review process, the General Counsel found merit to the charges, determined that union officials violated the nurses’ legal rights.
An NLRB administrative law judge will now evaluate Ms. Badertscher’s twin charges: The first alleges SEIU union officials misled nurses by suggesting that nonunion employees would continue to owe compulsory union dues after the nurses’ collective bargaining agreement expired. The second alleges that SEIU officials illegally threatened nurses for refusing to participate in a union-ordered strike.
“It’s outrageous for union officials to suggest that nurses could be financially penalized or even sent to jail for continuing to care for their patients,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “While we’re pleased that SEIU bosses will be prosecuted for breaking the law, this type of abuse will continue until California employees have the protection of a Right to Work law that makes union membership and dues-payment strictly voluntary.”