Massachusetts hospital takes union vote challenge to DC

Kelly Gooch - Print  | 

St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford, Mass., will take a challenge to a November union election to Washington, D.C., reports.

The hospital is alleging voter fraud and other improper behavior in the election, in which its registered nurses voted 350-283 to join the Massachusetts Nurses Association. The case is slated to be considered by the National Labor Relations Board's national office in Washington, D.C., according to Keith Hovan, president and CEO of hospital owner Southcoast Health.

St. Luke's in December filed objections with the NLRB in Boston alleging at least one fraudulent vote by someone posing as an eligible voter, and that the union "distributed election propaganda which misrepresented [and disclosed] how nurses intended to vote." 

The regional NLRB office overruled the hospital's objections, agreeing with a hearing officer's previous recommendation, according to

"Even before we learned of this decision, we were contacted by many St. Luke's nurses who were distressed by the hearing officer's recommendation," Mr. Hovan wrote in a letter to nurses obtained by the publication. "They have asked that Southcoast persist in challenging the election results, so their voices are heard, and a fair election is ensured."

Union supporter Debra Falk, an emergency department nurse at St. Luke's, told the hospital's ongoing case has strengthened the union because "several" who initially voted against joining the MNA volunteered for the negotiating committee.

"Our election results speak for themselves," she said.

Union supporter and medical surgical nurse Joshua True previously told The Standard-Times the alleged fraud involved an individual mistakenly checking the incorrect name off the voter list.

Regarding the allegation of improper election propaganda, Ms. Falk previously told The Standard-Times nurses felt it was important to show a united front in their viewpoint.


More articles on human capital and risk:

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