NLRB: New York hospital illegally fired 2 nurses to quash union organizing

The National Labor Relations Board ruled against Ithaca, N.Y.-based Cayuga Medical Center regarding the termination of two nurses, according to The Ithaca Voice.

The ruling came from Administrative Law Judge Kimberly Sorg-Graves, who determined CMC unlawfully suspended and then dismissed Anne Marshall, RN, and Loran Lamb, RN, "in an effort to rid itself of the union organizing drive."

"CMC's claim that Marshall's and Lamb's failure to follow established procedures while performing and documenting a blood transfusion was so egregious as to necessitate their discharges is a ruse for its real motivation of removing Marshall's vocal support for unionization," she added.

Ms. Sorg-Graves made the decision after hearing arguments Jan. 9-12, Feb. 27 through March 3, March 6-10, and April 3-4, 2017.

The case stems from the nurses' allegations of unfair labor practices by CMC. The hospital claimed the nurses were fired for violating the organization's blood transfusion policy. However, the nurses contended they did not violate common practice and their union organizing efforts played a role in CMC's decision, according to a statement from the Tompkins County Workers' Center.

According to the judge's order, Ms. Marshall was the lead union organizer, but The Ithaca Voice reported Ms. Lamb also supported unionization efforts.

Ms. Sorg-Graves said in her order hospital administrators ignored information uncovered in their investigation that other nurses performed blood transfusions in the same manner as Ms. Marshall and Ms. Lamb, and "disregarded … practices of re-educating staff in such circumstances." The order also claims CMC took union literature off of bulletin boards and "deviated from providing its employees with progressive discipline."

In a statement to The Ithaca Voice, CMC denied the allegations against the hospital and said it plans to appeal the judge's decision.

"Cayuga Medical Center strongly disagrees with the ruling by the National Labor Relations Board. Patient safety has always been at the forefront of delivering high quality care to our patients. We have always maintained a supportive workplace for our employees, as we partner together to deliver patient care. We will be appealing the ruling," the statement reads.

For more on this story, including a copy of the entire order, read the full report here.




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