For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
KINGSTON, Sept. 19, 2008 – Registered nurses at Benedictine Hospital believe they’ve won their union election, but their votes aren’t being counted.
All ballots were impounded Thursday night by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Whether they will be tallied depends on a decision by the board on an appeal by Benedictine management.
Benedictine nurses are seeking to join the New York State Nurses Association because they want a unified voice to help them address workplace issues such as insufficient nurse staffing, non-competitive salaries, and lack of incentives to retain experienced nurses.
Management has asked the NLRB in Washington, DC, to review an August ruling by the board’s regional office that granted the RNs the right to an election. That ruling ended hospital management’s attempt to prevent the election through a series of NLRB challenges. Management still contends the potential bargaining unit would be inappropriate because it does not include RNs from Kingston Hospital, a separate employer.
The board in Washington had not ruled on management’s appeal by election time, which necessitated impounding of the ballots.
Benedictine nurses are incensed that management is still trying to silence them.
“This is a last, desperate attempt to deny our right to have our votes counted,” said Mary Sue D’Orazio, RN, a member of the nurses’ organizing committee. “Management knows we want a union and they’ll do anything to prevent it. We believe our voices deserve to be heard.”
“Management has done everything it can to manipulate this election,” said committee member Ann Krom. “Now it’s trying a last-ditch effort to tie it up through legal maneuvering. This is a waste of money that could have been used to improve patient care. We’re being denied our right to make a free choice.”
In the meantime, the nurses will move ahead with the process of establishing their bargaining unit in anticipation of a successful outcome. They will draw up a set of rules for the bargaining unit, elect officers, form committees, and develop proposals for a first contract.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 36,000 members, it is the state's largest union and professional association for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.