Nurses: Labor Board finds hospital to have unlawfully interfered during lockout last year

  • Union representatives for the nurses discuss with security staff about entering the hospital following the lockout last June. Recorder file photo/Joshua Solomon

Recorder Staff
Published: 4/9/2018 11:15:57 PM

GREENFIELD — On the eve of another pending lockout and strike, several charges the nurses filed against Baystate Franklin Medical were found to have merit by the National Labor Relations Board, including two over the actions of the lockout last June, according to the Massachusetts Nurses Association.

The regional board ruled, according to an announcement by Massachusetts Nurses Association Monday evening, on a case that found local nurse union representatives Donna Stern and Jillian Sicard allegedly almost arrested following the conclusion of last year’s lockout

The board’s ruling found merit to the nurses union’s charge that the hospital “unlawfully interfered with, restrained and coerced bargaining unit employees … by threatening two union representatives, who were engaged in union activity in the employer’s facility in accordance with an existing practice, with arrest if they remained within the employer’s facility and by having security guards escort those representatives from the employer’s facility.”

The ruling of merit does not mean the hospital is guilty of violating labor laws, but rather, the agency believes that if the complaint went before a judge, there would be sufficient facts to defend it, Scott Burson, the deputy regional attorney of this region, had explained previously.

This announcement came from the nurses union Monday evening, despite being told they could release the information publicly Thursday, April 5, by the National Labor Relations Board, Region 1, field attorney Meredith Garry, according to an email the nurses union provided.

Additionally the regional board found merit to the charge the hospital, “acting through supervisory/managerial personnel, has coerced and restrained employee (redacted name of nurse) in the exercise of her rights.”

There were a total of seven charges the regional board found merit to, according to the information the nurses union provided, and two others that will see continuing investigation — both of which questioned whether the hospital could legally lock out the nurses on the grounds they did in June.

“The complaints shared by the MNA today are all existing charges,” Baystate Health Spokeswoman Shelly Hazlett said in a statement when contacted in response to the late announcement by the nurses Monday. “We are confident that a full hearing of the facts will resolve these matters in our favor and do not provide detailed comments on pending legal issues.”

These charges will now move forward to a potential court date or litigation.

The charge finding merit on the potential arrest stemmed from a week of high tensions this past summer.

Attempting to enter the hospital as the lockout formally ended, Stern and Sicard were initially denied entry by security officials because they were not scheduled to work at that hour.

Massachusetts Nurses Association employee Karen “Rudy” Renaud, standing alongside the two nurses, told the security officer at that time they will file unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board and that his “intimidation is a bunch of bull****.”

Stern and Sicard were eventually allowed into the hospital, but on their way back out they were escorted by the Greenfield Police Department and then allegedly threatened with arrest.

Now another strike is set for Wednesday and the lockout is ready to begin Tuesday evening and end Friday evening.

Reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264




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