Massachusetts nurses union vote upheld

A federal labor board has dismissed objections filed by New Bedford, Mass.-based St. Luke's Hospital alleging voter fraud in a Nov. 29 unionization election, according to WBSM radio station.

The hospital filed the objections with the National Labor Relations Board in December after registered nurses voted to join the Massachusetts Nurses Association.

Patricia Giramma, spokesperson for the hospital's owner, New Bedford-based Southcoast Health, previously told Becker's the filing was "because at least one vote was cast fraudulently by someone posing as an eligible voter," and the union "distributed election propaganda which misrepresented [and disclosed] how nurses intended to vote."

She said the hospital believes the actions violated federal law and "tainted the election process."

But Debra Falk, an emergency department nurse who was active in the unionization effort, attributed the vote in question to a "clerical issue," WBSM reported.

"One of the nurses had voted. [The election officials] thought she already had, but it turned out there were four other nurses with a similar name. It wasn't mistaken identity. It was just a clerical issue. But it didn't affect the vote in any way," she told the TV station.

She indicated in a news release that union officials will now work to negotiate a fair contract with hospital management.

Southcoast Health did not immediately return WBSM's request for comment.


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