Nurses Say Surveillance, Interrogation and Other Management Actions Violate U.S. Labor Law
(DETROIT) – Nurses at Beaumont Hospital – Royal Oak have filed an unfair labor practice charge at the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Detroit in response to multiple incidents in which management has attempted to interfere with the right of nurses to organize and form their own union.
“As nurses, our focus is always on the best possible care for our patients,” said Mary Beth Boesen, a nurse anesthetist at Beaumont-Royal Oak. “We expect our management to have the same focus. Instead, they are spying on nurses, interrogating nurses, and threatening us because we are standing up for our rights.”
“Hospital executives need to step back and let us make our own decision about union representation,” said Jennifer Elrod, an Emergency Center nurse at Beaumont Royal Oak. “The actions they are taking in response to our organizing campaign – changing the work assignments of pro-union nurses, enforcing discriminatory policies, barging into private Facebook groups – have nothing to do with patient care.”
The unfair labor practice charge filed on July 9 by Beaumont nurses, with support from the Michigan Nurses Association, states that hospital executives have violated federal law by attempting to interfere with, restrain and coerce nurses from exercising their rights. The allegations of illegal behavior by management include:
- Interrogating employees about their postings on a private Facebook page;
- Requesting admittance to a private Facebook page, creating the impression of surveillance of employees;
- Changing the job duties of a union supporter, in an effort to isolate her from other nurses;
- Threatening the loss of favorable working conditions for employees if they choose to organize a union;
- Attempting to enforce discriminatory policies to prohibit distribution of pro-union materials;
- Announcing a rule that attempts to prohibit employees from talking about unions.
“We have a right to talk to each other about issues in our workplace, and no manager is going to stop us from exercising our rights,” said Mike Weber, a psychiatric nurse at Beaumont—Royal Oak. “We’re bringing this charge before the NLRB because we have strong evidence to show that hospital executives are interfering with our rights and violating federal law.”
In testimony before the Oakland County Commission, Beaumont-Royal Oak nurses have also raised concerns that nurses are being pulled away from patient care duties in order to attend anti-union presentations by highly paid consultants. “Instead of pulling us away from our patients to listen to overpaid consultants, executives at Beaumont should listen to nurses,” said Liz Martinez, an Emergency Center nurse at Beaumont-Royal Oak. “We want a union so we can advocate for our patients, who deserve the highest possible standard of care.”
The Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) is the largest, most effective union for registered nurses in Michigan, advocating for nurses and their patients at the State Capitol, in the community, and at the bargaining table.
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Contact: Dawn Kettinger, 517.721.9688