labor Judge Says Affinity Medical Center Must Reinstate Nurse Recognize Union
A federal judge has ordered Affinity Medical Center to bargain with its registered nurses and to reinstate a nurse who was terminated after nurses voted to join a union in 2012.
The ruling, issued Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge John Adams of the Northern Ohio District, is the third injunction within a year against affiliates of Tennessee-based Community Health Systems, for violations of federal labor law, according to a news release from the National Nurses Organizing Committee in Ohio. NNOC is an affiliate of National Nurses United.
"The nurses are very excited," said Michelle Mahon, a representative based in Cleveland for NNU. "It's not a contract but it's an important next step."
Susan Koosh, vice president of Marketing and Community Relations at Affinity Medical Center, provided an emailed statement: "We are in receipt of the court's ruling. Our team is taking time to review the decision and to consider our next steps."
The NNOC-Ohio said in a news release that it will press Affinity to comply with the order, reinstate registered nurse Ann Wayt, and begin negotiations for a first collective bargaining agreement.
The judge's order includes requirements that Affinity recognize and bargain with NNOC-Ohio. According to the order, "there is sufficient evidence to conclude that the certification of the union was valid."
Also, Ann Wayt must be offered in writing reinstatement to her former job. "The evidence demonstrates reasonable cause to determine ... unfair labor practice with regard to Ms. Wayt," according to the order.
The judge also ordered an end to disciplining, discharging and reporting employees to the State Board of Nursing because of union "activities, sympathies or support" and to stop threats of harm to registered nurses who submit forms to management objecting to unsafe patient care assignments. Copies of the ruling are to be posted at the hospital and read to employees, according to the order.