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Latest News - August 2011

August 25, 2011
Nurses allege labor law violations
Source: The Herald-News, A Chicago Sun Times Publication

JOLIET — The Illinois Nurses Association has filed three unfair labor practice complaints against Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center.

The main complaint is Provena’s creation of a Clinical Leadership Council made up of non-union administrators and nurse managers. The hospital is using the committee to deal with nurse issues instead of dealing with the union directly as required in the contract, said INA spokesman Chris Martin.

“They set up this committee to skirt that,” he said.

The council deals with terms and conditions of employment such as lunch breaks, clinical guidelines, nursing documentation and concerns about employee safety, staffing and equipment issues, said Rick Lezu, staff specialist for INA.

“Given that we just ratified a contract with Provena this spring, this conduct is extraordinary in the way it skirts well-defined labor law while also provoking labor unrest between the 800 nurses who work at Provena,” Lezu said.

He said Provena is incurring additional and unnecessary costs communicating with this committee.

The hospital’s 800 nurses recently ratified a three-year contract with Provena.

INA also contends that Provena urged rank-and-file nurses to vote for the deauthorization of the union after the contract was approved, Martin said.

Another complaint argues that Provena retaliated against one of the Provena nurses by issuing a written warning against him for exercising his rights to promote union activity in the workforce.

“Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center strongly believes the claims are unfounded,” hospital spokeswoman Jan Ciccarelli said.

Ciccarelli said a vote to deauthorize the union was scheduled to take place in late July.

The National Labor Relations Board canceled the vote while the INA charges are being investigated, she said.



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