Maryland hospital engaged in anti-union activities during nurse organizing campaign, NLRB rules

Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md., violated labor law during a 2016 union organizing campaign by National Nurses United, the National Labor Relations Board ruled Sept. 11.

A three-member panel of the board upheld an administrative law judge's July 2017 ruling that the hospital unlawfully interfered with, restrained and coerced employees during the campaign.The case involved a union organizing campaign that lasted about a year to 18 months. 

The board ordered Holy Cross to cease and desist from anti-union conduct including threatening employees with more burdensome working conditions if they choose to unionize; coercively interrogating workers about their union support or activities; and calling hospital security to respond to employees participating in union activities.

The board also ordered the hospital to rescind its provision regarding the prohibition of "solicitation and distribution of literature to patients or visitors at any time by unauthorized persons" in the June 2016 solicitation-and-distribution policy.

National Nurses United praised the board's decision about the case, saying it "vindicates nurses, who were threatened, interrogated, spied upon and lied to by management as part of the outrageous and illegal union-busting campaign."

"Tragically, the events at issue here occurred four years ago, and the glacial speed at which 'justice' was done here makes a mockery of the federal government's obligation to protect workers' rights to organize," the union said in a statement shared with Becker's Hospital Review, adding that "the extreme delay illustrates the failure of the federal government to effectively enforce nurses' right to organize."

Holy Cross Health expressed disappointment about the board's decision and told Becker's it is examining all legal options regarding the case. 

"At Holy Cross Health, we believe remaining in direct relationship with our colleagues reflects our core values and is our best option," the organization said.

 

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