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Latest News - June 2013

June 11, 2013
CORONA: Doctors must provide documents in union vote
Source: The Press Enterprise
By: Peter Fischetti

The medical staff at Corona Regional Medical Center has been ordered by a court to produce records that could hasten the ruling on whether a vote to unionize nurses is legitimate.

Nurses at the acute care hospital voted in January to join the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals. The hospital then filed an objection to the election, and hearings began in March before the National Labor Relations Board.

Those hearings were postponed after a week of testimony when the hospital cited the failure of the medical staff to provide materials — which it declined to describe — that it said would support its argument that the election was not legitimate.

Unless the medical staff appeals the order, hearings may resume later this month. Neil Warheit, an agent for the labor board, has said that ultimately a decision would be made by a federal district court.

It’s unclear why the hearings hinge on documents from the medical staff, which has not taken a position on unionization of nurses at the hospital.

The U.S. District Court announced on Wednesday, June 5, that a subpoena issued to the medical staff by the labor board should be enforced.

In its ruling, the court described those materials as “documents reflecting the attendance of 11 doctors at various specific meetings” and covers the period between January 2008 and March 2013. The document ordered Ann Alves, director of the medical staff, to provide the documents and give testimony at a time and place to be determined.

Jay Christensen, an attorney with Christensen & Auer, a Pasadena firm representing the medical staff, did not return calls on whether he intends to appeal the ruling. The hospital declined to comment.

Denise Duncan, RN, executive vice president of the nurses union, said in a statement, “We’re confident that when the hearing moves forward it will affirm the basic, democratic right of this small group of nurses to join together to protect their patients from conditions like unsafe staffing and equipment shortages, free from interference by the giant, for-profit corporation that owns the hospital.”



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