North Memorial Hospital harassed, retaliated against employees: NLRB
Complaint says hospital management targeted employees who spoke up for safe staffing levels at June picket
St. Paul, MN – North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale engaged in a pattern of harassment and retaliation against staff for their participation in a June informational picket calling for safe staffing levels, according to the National Labor Relations Board.
The NLRB this week issued a formal complaint finding the hospital violated the National Labor Relations Act after investigating Unfair Labor Practice charges filed by the Minnesota Nurses Association and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.
MNA and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota filed charges with the NLRB after the hospital fired one employee, revoked work agreements and forced employees to work weekends, "repeatedly interrogated" staff about their union activities, warned employees and union staff that talking about unions was prohibited and threatened to file charges if discussions continued - all because they participated in the June picketing.
“Despite the challenges that North Memorial’s retaliation has caused for me, I don’t regret for one second that I spoke up for safe staffing levels and patient safety,” said Melvin Anderson, a member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota who was fired from his position in the sterile processing unit at North Memorial, a moved alleged to be illegal by the NLRB. “I hope this ruling makes North Memorial understand that they can’t intimidate employees and that it is time to finally address their staffing levels. My co-workers are telling me that recent cuts in staff are putting their safety and patient safety at risk."
Presidents from the two unions involved also commented on the ruling against North Memorial.
"North Memorial management's actions were outrageous," said MNA President Linda Hamilton. "Hospital staff were exercising their legal rights to a peaceful event to protest staffing plans that could endanger patient safety. The hospital should have used its energy to create safe staffing levels that ensure patient safety and allowed nurses to perform quality work.”
"SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members bravely raised their voices to address staffing levels at North Memorial in June, but instead of listening to their front line staff, North Memorial decided instead to retaliate against and even fire workers who took part in the informational picket. The ruling Tuesday from the NLRB recognized this for what it is: harassment and intimidation,” said Jamie Gulley, President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. “As staffing levels continue to decline, posing increased risks to patients, North Memorial must stop retaliating against employees and should instead focus on making certain their hospital has safe staffing levels as they care for our families.”
The NLRB will hold a Jan. 7, 2015, hearing on the case.
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota unites more than 43,000 healthcare and long-term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care throughout the state of Minnesota. SEIU represents more than 57,000 members across Minnesota and is a powerful voice working to improve the lives of all Minnesotans.