UNION WINS HOSPITAL VOTE DIRECTORS ACCEPT SEIU TO REPRESENT WORKERS.
LANCASTER - Antelope Valley Hospital directors voted unanimously to accept a union to represent licensed vocational nurses, food service workers, clerical staff and other support-service workers.
The board vote capped a three-year effort by the Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers West to unionize more than 1,100 eligible employees.
``It is going to help us tremendously. It's going to help give us a feeling of more ownership of our careers,'' said licensed vocational nurse Carolyn Williams. ``It gives us more input into decisions that are made regarding our working conditions.''
The hospital board approved recognizing the SEIU at a special meeting Tuesday. The vote came after a ruling from the state Public Employment Relations Board in favor of the union that said 84 ``no union'' cards signed and dated by workers did not count as votes against the union.
``PERB ruled that the 'no union' cards should not have counted against the union, and so that's what we did,'' director June Snow said. ``We said we would do whatever the PERB ordered us to do. That's what PERB ordered us to do.''
The state Mediation and Conciliation Service will issue a certified card count that will take into consideration PERB's ruling, said John Sullivan, the hospital's vice president of human resources.
``Once they issue the certified results that would establish SEIU with majority status, then that means they would be recognized as the exclusive bargaining representative for the employees, and we would proceed with contract negotiations,'' Sullivan said.
Hospital officials appealed last year to the state board after an administrative law judge ruled in favor of the union with regard to the ``no union'' cards.
The administrative law judge's ruling stemmed from a count of union authorization cards signed by workers between March 2003 and March 2004. A total of 569 employees signed the cards, but 89 workers revoked their previously signed cards, saying they no longer wanted a union - 84 by signing the ``no union'' cards, five by writing letters.
That left 480 employees who said yes to the union, which is not a majority, hospital officials said. Union officials said the proper way to revoke previously signed authorization cards was by letter.
``We conclude that the (hospital) district unreasonably withheld recognition of SEIU by treating the 'no union' slips as revoking the SEIU authorization cards,'' the PERB ruling said. ``The 'no union' slips do not show the signers' specific intent to revoke the SEIU authorization cards, and therefore should not be deducted from the tally of SEIU authorization cards.''
The hospital in 2003 voted to recognize the California Nurses Association to represent the hospital's registered nurses.
Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Feb 23, 2006|
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