MNA wins ULP against North Memorial
(St. Paul) - An Administrative Law Judge has ruled in favor of the Minnesota Nurses Association and its partner union, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), for joint Unfair Labor Practices the two unions filed against North Memorial Medical Center. The ALJ, ruling on behalf of the National Labor Relations Board, found the Robbinsdale hospital unlawfully infringed on protected concerted activity by union members and union representatives.
"We are pleased that the Board has vindicated our rights to represent our union and recognized the injustice of the employer's attempt to harass and intimidate legitimate union activity," said Joe McMahon, MNA Labor Relations Specialist.
The ULP arose from an informational picket MNA and SEIU engaged in outside North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale on June 24, 2014. The event was intended to raise awareness about nurses’ concerns about the need for safe patient standards in hospitals across the state. The Hospital attempted to ban union activity in the cafeteria or other public places and restrict it to only designated, out-of-the-way areas.
On June 23, 2014, MNA organizer Karlton Scott, and SEIU organizer, Fred Anthony, were on site talking with their respective members. North Memorial's Human Resource Director threatened the two organizers then ordered security guards to escort them out of the building. They were told that they weren’t supposed to be there, especially the day before the picketing, and warned for trespass charges.
The next day, an off-duty MNA nurse, Richard Geurts, entered the facility wearing the same MNA shirt as the picketers. In the atrium, on the way to a locker room, he was told he wasn’t allowed to wear the MNA shirt in the facility that day and was forced to take the shirt off immediately. MNA President Linda Hamilton attempted to talk with members in the hospital cafeteria, and she was also told she couldn't wear her union shirt or speak with members there.
The judge found that MNA and SEIU staff are entitled to have conversations in public areas and may not be intimidated or surveilled to prevent them from speaking to members. The NLRB found that union organizers cannot be banned from the property if they are not being "disruptive" nor can union members or representatives be prevented from wearing union shirts. The Board also found that an SEIU employee who was fired in retaliation for the event must be reinstated with back pay.
Per the judge's order, North Memorial must also post on its bulletin boards that they have been found to have committed these unfair labor practices and that they will halt them immediately.