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Ousted Nurses Celebrate Reinstatement, Payout, and “Do Over” Union Vote at Huntington Hospital

Published on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 | 4:58 am
Registered nurses seen last August at a union rally demanding that two nurses who were terminated be reinstated. The California Nurses Association said late Tuesday the hospital has now agreed to rescind the terminations.

Nurses, elected leaders and community members will hold a press conference this morning to celebrate the successful efforts of the California Nurses Association (CNA) union to reinstate two fired nurses and to conduct a new union election at Huntington Memorial Hospital.

Both nurses expected to receive their full back pay checks by mail yesterday, a union spokesperson said earlier on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Huntington Hospital took the first step towards a new union election as required by an agreement with the National Labor Relations Board. The hospital posted obligatory posters issued by federal government telling the hospital’s employees they have the right to “form, join, or assist a union.”

The hospital earlier agreed to to set aside the results of the 2015 Huntington RN union election, and move forward with a new election, as well as agreeing to abide by labor laws that protect the RN’s right to organize.

A union representative said the new vote is expected to occur in October, 2016.

“This press conference is a chance for the nurses to publicly express what a big victory this settlement is for all of the Huntington RNs, who stood strong through a campaign of intimidation by Huntington administration,” said Malinda Markowitz, RN and CNA Co-President.

Today’s press event is expected to feature RN speakers (including reinstated nurse Almada Shin), U.S. Representative Judy Chu, Executive Director of National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) Pablo Alvarado and members of NDLON, and CNA national director of organizing David Johnson.

Also expected are Hector Rodriguez on behalf of California State Assemblymember Chris Holden, and Vannia De La Cuba on behalf of Pasadena Councilmember Victor Gordo.

“This settlement is such a milestone — not just for me and Vicki, as we receive our full back pay and have our terminations rescinded — but also for all the RNs who work at Huntington to feel empowered, moving forward, knowing their voices cannot be silenced,” said Almada Shin.
“Although I have decided to decline returning to work at Huntington—having since found a job at Keck USC, a hospital where RNs are protected through their CNA contract—I will be speaking out at this press conference,” Sin continued, “and generally doing everything I can to support my former colleagues as they seek to win their own union protection.”
The other reinstated nurse is Vickie Lin.

“I know with every fiber of my being that what happened to me was completely wrong, unjust and illegal. With the support and guidance from CNA and my friends and family, I was able to regain my power,” said Lin. “What happened to me is the perfect example of why Huntington nurses need to stand together and not allow the hospital’s administration to continue to devalue their nurses.”

Huntington Memorial RNs began organizing to affiliate with CNA/NNU in May of 2014, after they claimed that hospital management rebuffed their attempts to engage them on patient care issues, including chronic short staffing, inadequate supplies and equipment and concerns about hygiene and sterilization practices at the hospital.

According to the suit filed by Shin and Li, Huntington management responded with an illegal effort to thwart unionization. Despite being issued a formal NLRB complaint — citing over twenty instances of unlawful conduct — management continued its pattern of union-busting up through the RNs’ election in April of 2015, the suit alleged.

The union lost the election. Thereafter, it went to the NLRB with complaints.

The NLRB was scheduled to review the union’s numerous objections to the 2015 election as well as other unfair labor practice charges at a trial in Los Angeles scheduled for June 6, before the Huntington Hospital agreed to a settlement, union officials said.

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