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Baystate Franklin, security union going to court



Recorder Staff
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

GREENFIELD — Baystate Franklin Medical Center has decided to take its chances in court over charges filed by its security union.

Following a finding of merit regarding union allegations by the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board in December, the hospital had until Jan. 11 to potentially settle with the union and the fired security employees named in the charges. Instead, the hospital plans to make its case in U.S. District Court in Hartford, beginning May 7, if there isn’t any change between the two sides in the meantime.

Given the “ongoing nature of this legal action, we won’t have any updated comment,” hospital spokeswoman Shelly Hazlett stated in regards to the charges with the Law Enforcement Officers’ Union.

Hazlett, though, reiterated the hospital’s stance on the charges.

“We have every confidence that a full hearing of the facts will show that we acted appropriately in this matter,” she said in a statement.

The security union claims that while employees were in the early stages of forming a union, hospital staff used interrogation and surveillance tactics to try to disrupt the efforts.

The charges, first filed by the union’s representative Steve Maritas in May was amended twice, including on Nov. 29, when it was updated to include then hospital president Cindy Russo’s name.

Maritas said the hospital’s stance did not surprise him, given the circumstances.

“I’ve been on this situation many times before and it always seems before it goes to the trial, we’re able to work some kind of settlement agreement out,” Maritas, who is the business agent of the union, said. “I expect the same results with this particular case.”

In its case, the union claims three security officers at Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Mike Kubasek, Kris Morandi and Shannon Wissman-Hoar, were “suspended and subsequently discharged in retaliation for their union and protected concerted activities, or as a cover for these discriminatory discharges.”

Also, the hospital is alleged to have “created the impression of surveillance” of the union’s activities by telling an employee that they were aware of a planned meeting that had not taken place.

The hospital also allegedly “interrogated employees about their union and protected text exchanges, in the guard’s office of the facility,” and requested and received copies of text exchanges from employees who were a part of a union-related group chat.

The union also alleges that the hospital had been “discriminating in regard to the hire or tenure or terms and conditions of employment of its employees, thereby discouraging membership in a labor organization.”

Maritas said he thought that once the evidence, which he said he is privy to, is presented to the hospital, that Baystate Franklin’s position will change.

“Right now they’re only looking at what the allegations are,” Maritas said. “They’re not looking at what evidence is actually in place, so I expect them to make that kind of decision, but people have a change of heart once they see the evidence.”

 

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264