Union files 21-count unfair labor practice charge against Steward St. Elizabeth's Medical Center

The Massachusetts Nurses Association said Sept. 13 that it has filed a 21-count unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against Boston-based St. Elizabeth's Medical Center.

The union represents 777 registered nurses at St. Elizabeth's, according to an MNA news release. St. Elizabeth's, a Boston University teaching hospital, is part of Dallas-based Steward Health Care, which operates 39 hospitals worldwide.

Union members are working under a contract approved in 2018. The union contends Steward has not met the dictates of up to 21 different aspects of that deal, including key patient care-oriented provisions addressing nurse staffing levels and the proper use of charge nurses for patient care on specific units. Counts in the union's complaint are related to payments for union members, as well as other requirements regarding health insurance benefits, pension contributions and tuition reimbursement.

According to the union, the charging document filed by its attorneys reads: "By its overall pattern of not complying with and not having processes in place to comply (despite this contract having been in effect since 2018) with over 20 contract provisions within the past six months the employer has unilaterally repudiated to collective bargaining agreement."

Negotiations are set to resume in the next few months for a new contract. But the union told Becker's "no contract is meaningful unless and until the employer agrees to abide by it lawfully." 

Steward Health Care told Becker's the company has "great respect for the negotiating process and our dedicated nursing staff. We're proud to work cooperatively and in good faith to come to an agreement that recognizes the invaluable contributions of our nurses and ensures the highest quality care to the communities we serve."

The National Labor Relations Board will now investigate the union's claims. 

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