Right to Work attorneys trigger prosecution after union bosses threatened Pomona Valley nurses with jail time for refusing to abandon patients
Los Angeles, California (July 3, 2008) – Federal labor board officials in Los Angeles will prosecute the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 121RN for illegally threatening nurses at the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center with financial penalties and arrest for refusing to abandon their patients during a union-ordered strike.
Last October, SEIU officials ordered a general strike after the collective bargaining agreement between the union and the hospital expired, but many nurses refused to abandon their patients. To continue treating patients during the union-ordered strike without union retaliation, the nurses resigned from formal union membership. However, union bosses – citing an unenforceable California state law deterring “strikebreakers” (i.e. dutiful employees) – told the nurses that they could face stiff fines and even up to 90 days in jail if they did not join the strike. With free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys, nurse Carole Jean Badertscher filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
When the NLRB Regional Director originally declined to prosecute the law-breaking SEIU bosses, Foundation attorneys filed an appeal with the NLRB’s General Counsel. The General Counsel determined that the Regional Director improperly dropped the case and ordered issuance of an unfair labor practice complaint against the abusive union hierarchy.
According to the complaint, union bosses illegally threatened nurses with arrest and jail under the invalid California law that is preempted by federal labor law. Additionally, the complaint alleges that union officials misled nurses by suggesting that non-member employees would continue to owe compulsory union dues even though no contract containing a valid forced-dues clause was in effect.
“Rather than being properly commended for refusing to turn their backs on their patients, these brave nurses faced ugly threats of fines and imprisonment from union bosses,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “It is reprehensible that union bosses are illegally threatening nurses in an effort to get them to walk out on their patients.”