NLRB adds new labor law complaints against Borgess Medical Center

Oct. 15, 2010, Kalamazoo - The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued an amended complaint against Borgess Medical Center, charging more violations from two Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges originally filed by the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) in May and June 2010. This brings to three the number of Complaints the NLRB has filed against Borgess, validating most of the charges brought brought by MNA. 

"The NLRB has charged Borgess with numerous labor law violations against its nurses" said Anita Szczepanski, MNA Labor Attorney. "The number and severity of the alleged violations documented in the Complaints filed by the NLRB suggest an orchestrated campaign of union busting activities by Borgess in violation of federal law and Catholic teaching". The NLRB Complaints say that Borgess: 

  • Engaged in unlawful coercive interrogations of nurses
  • Made unlawful threats against nurses
  • Unlawfully discriminated against nurses for engaging in protected activities
  • Unlawfully solicited employees to sign a union decertification petition
  • Unlawfully frustrated negotiations by withholding required information from MNA
  • Unlawfully insisted on certain bargaining proposals during negotiations
  • Bargained in bad faith with MNA in violation of federal law 

"The conduct identified in the initial and new NLRB Complaints is deplorable. Borgess appears to disrespect its nurses and ignore the teachings of its faith because it is not convenient to its business plan." said John Karebian, MNA Executive Director. It's time for Borgess Hospital to straighten out its priorities and do what's right for its employees, its patients and the Kalamazoo community." 

The NLRB Complaints confirm the report issued in July by the Interfaith Workers Justice, "Ascension Health: A Fall from Grace."  The Interfaith Worker Justice called upon Ascension Health to insist that Borgess respect the rights of workers to organize, approach collective bargaining in good faith and in a constructive spirit, and abide by the process for unions in Catholic health care institutions outlined by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The report also admonished the hospital for its antiunion behavior and worker disrespect. The report can be seen in its entirety at http://www.iwj.org 

The nurses have continued to care for hospital patients since March 19, 2010, when their contract expired at BMC. Borgess is owned by the St. Louis-based Ascension Health System.

On November 30, Borgess will be under close scrutiny before an administrative law judge as the NLRB shares its findings in court. 

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The Michigan Nurses Association is the largest, most effective union for RNs in Michigan. As the voice of all registered nurses in Michigan, MNA advocates for nurses and their patients at the State Capitol, in the community, and at the bargaining table. MNA is a constituent member of National Nurses United and an affiliate of the AFL-CIO. 

PRO PATIENT, PRO HOSPITAL, PRO UNION, PRO COMMUNITY 

Ann Kettering Sincox

Editor, Michigan Nurse/NurseLine

Michigan Nurses Association

888.MI.NURSE, ext. 5520

517.853.5520 direct line
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