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I have typed out a verbatim version of a letter that was sent to all nurses in one of Arizona's largest hospitals - one of which, just like the letter states, is "the only game in town."  In other words, it's the only hospital for possible nursing employment for at least 180 miles.  Thus, these nurses - thousands - have been intimidated by their union-busting management to NOT even think about joining a union, or, for them the nightmare scenario - become affiliated with the California Nurse's Association!

Here's the letter sent to all nurses at the Yuma (Arizona) Regional Medical Center:

Dear YRMC Registered Nurse:

In the past few days, many of our registered nurses have received a mailer at their home address promoting the National Organizing Committee (NNOC) and California Nurses Association (CNA) under the pretext of pending legislation, HB 2041 demanding nurse patient staffing ratios.

I would like to answer some general questions and encourage you to talk to your supervisor if you have additional concerns or want further information.

- The NNOC/CNA is a union.  Their primary goal is to increase membership.  This is big business and they want your dues.  Currently this union is making a concerted effort to expand membership in Arizona.  I do not believe that a third party, i.e. a union, will make things better for our team at YRMC.

- Legislation in California has been devastating.  Mandating staffing ratios does not produce one more nurse.  It simply requires the hospital to turn away patients when they cannot recruit enough nurses.  In Yuma, we cannot go on diversion.  We are the only provider in town.  Every effort is being made to make sure we are staffed adequately.  Some of our strategies include:

  - Increasing nursing student capacity at AWC and NAU - The hospital provides financial support to ensure these programs remain viable.
  - National recruitment for both core and seasonal registered nurses is year round.
  - As an organization, we are committed to make this a great place to work by:
     - Advancing the profession with tuition sponsorship for our current employees.
     - Our Nursing Excellence program recognizes nursing as a profession.
     - Annually comparing market data to ensure our pay and benefits are competitive.

-Read the fine print on the attached card.  It states, "Note that the bottom portion of this card with your information will NOT go to your Legislator."  If this is a legislative issue, why wouldn't they want your legislator to know of your support?

I am proud of the care and commitment you provide to our patients.

Please talk to your supervisor if you have additional questions or feel free to give me a call at x7412.


Sharon R. Gardner, MPA, SPHR
Vice President Human Resources
2400 South Avenue A
Yuma, Arizona 85364

Okay, that's the letter that was sent.  Is this not a violation of SOME laws?  Some violation of perhaps the National Labor Relations Board?  I don't know.  Hopefully this hospital gets sued AND this person who wrote the letter and her management colleagues get bombarded with phone calls with folks upset with union-busting and BLATANT worker intimidation.  

Originally posted to BoyBlue on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 12:48 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    I am a VERY proud liberal gay male but I don't like Obama because he doesn't like me. But I voted for him in the primary & general and gave him max donation

    by BoyBlue on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 12:48:43 PM PDT

  •  It's always the same (6+ / 0-)

    Either explicit or implied: Join a union and we may have to lay people off in order to meet those outrageous salary demands (you know, cost of living wages). Be afraid, YOU may not have a job.

    It's even worse with healthcare, when the implied threat is to your patients.

    I hate those people more with every passing day. How much do you suppose ms Gardner makes?

    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. - Albert Einstein

    by jiordan on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 12:56:54 PM PDT

    •  "You won't win anything by joining a union (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and you probably won't even get a contract, but we'll have to lay people off because of the huge wage increases you get with the contract you win."

      Unionbusters really are lying scumbags.

      "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

      by Pesto on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 01:43:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Tell 'em to (0+ / 0-)

      empty their own bed pans.


      If you are older than 55, never take a sleeping pill and a laxative at the same time!

      by fredlonsdale on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 04:42:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's not a violation of a law.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shirl In Idaho, PhilW

    ...for an employer to communicate their point of view with employees.

    From the information in the diary, there does not appear to be direct organizing activity at this hospital currently. The letter appears to be about a legislative issue. Even if employees are attempting to organize, the employer does have the right to communicate with employees. The employer does not have the right to directly interfere with or intimidate people when employees are deciding whether to organize or not.

    So, you may disagree with what's in the letter, but it is not union busting and it's not against the law.

    This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

    by itzik shpitzik on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 01:03:37 PM PDT

  •  Hospital lies about the patient-nurse ratio. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris

    I believe the evidence is that a low patient-nurse ratio is the single biggest predictor for shorter stays and survival in hospitals.

    The hospitals push high ratio to make money.  The idea that it only hurts the patients when hospital can't meet the standards needed to insure good patient outcomes is a complete lie. It saves patients lives. It saves patient's money.

    The hospital makes money the longer you are in the hospital and the sicker you are. Part of the problem with the current system is that creates incentives for hospitals to have poor outcomes.

    Increasing the patient-nurse ratio is a double win for the hospitals.  Sicker patients in the hospital longer and less cost if they can cut the nurses taking care of the sicker patients.

    The single best thing the state can do for good patient outcomes is lower the patient-nurse ratio and patient-CNA ratio.

  •  Boilerplate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's just boilerplate anti-union crap, and not a particularly sophisticated version of it.  Just the standard "third party" and "all they want is your dues" crap, combined with "we're a team" blah blah blah.

    It's a little odd that the VP of HR signed the letter.  I would have expected the DON (or "VP of Patient Care Services" or whatever they're calling themselves these days) to sign it.  That emphasizes the "we're all nurses here on a team!" message.

    And it's not illegal at all, BTW.  If you're pissed off about it, talk with your coworkers and try to put together a meeting amongst yourselves.  Don't bother saying anything to management at this point.  

    Incidentally, this is the biggest downside of a strategy of mass-mailing to the RNs' list:  the boss always finds out (in fact, it's pretty likely that CNA ended up mailing to a bunch of managers who are RNs), so the boss has an excuse to go on the offensive before the nurses have actually been to a meeting or even thought much about the union.

    Not a lot of unions can exercise the option of doing this kind of mailing, because most workers don't have their names on publicly-available state licensure lists.

    "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

    by Pesto on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 01:41:30 PM PDT

  •  How could anyone object to this? (0+ / 0-)

    Even if the letter is completely false, we have freedom of speech in this country.

    No one was forced to attend a meeting.

    No one was forced to listen to a speech or watch a movie or even read the stupid letter.

    They got something in the mail. So what?

    We all get all kids of junk mail every day.

    It is all perfectly legal.

    It is called freedom of speech. It is protected by the constitution.

    Anyone that thinks people or firms should not be allowed to mail out letters advocating their points of view have a strange idea about the US constitution.

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