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NLRB Finds Merit in Nurses’ Allegations That Huntington Hospital Fired Them Illegally

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Mark Pocan Press Conference with Labor leaders and workers to introduce the Workplace Democracy Act to help restore workers’ rights to bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. Washington DC Oct. 6, 2015.  © Rick Reinhard  2015  email rick@rickreinhard.com

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Mark Pocan Press Conference with Labor leaders and workers to introduce the Workplace Democracy Act to help restore workers’ rights to bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. Washington DC Oct. 6, 2015. © Rick Reinhard 2015 email rick@rickreinhard.com

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced on Friday, January 29, that they found merit to all the allegations that registered nurses, Allysha Almada and Vicki Lin, were illegally fired from Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena.

“I want to thank my Huntington co-workers for their support over the past few months. It has taken a while to get here, but finally justice has been served,” said Allysha Almada, RN. “I’m ready to go back to work and help us all gain the job security we deserve and need so that we can advocate for improvements in patient care without fear of retaliation. Under a union contract, we would not have been fired in her first place,” said Almada.

“What happened to me can happen to anyone that’s why we need union representation to protect our rights along with our patients,” said Vicki Lin, RN. “Nurses need job protection. We need someone to advocate for us, so we can advocate for our patients.”

Allysha Almada was fired last August, along with her co-worker Vicki Lin, after speaking out publicly about deteriorating conditions at Huntington and playing a leadership role in the union organizing drive at the hospital. Since her firing, Almada has continued to speak out. In October she was invited to Washington D.C. to participate in the White House Summit on Worker Voice. While in DC, she met with the Secretary of Labor, the President of the AFL-CIO and numerous elected representatives. She also participated in a press conference with Sen. Bernie Sanders announcing introduction of the Workplace Democracy Act, a bill that would make it much easier for workers to form a union.

Huntington Memorial RNs began organizing to affiliate with CNA/NNU in May of 2014, after attempts to engage management on patient care issues were rebuffed. Management responded with an illegal effort to thwart unionization. Despite being issued a formal NLRB complaint—citing seven instances of unlawful conduct—management continued its pattern of union-busting up through the RNs’ attempted election in April of 2015.

The nurses’ campaign at Huntington Memorial has received widespread support from residents and community leaders, including Pasadena City Councilmember Victor Gordo. Nurses have gathered over 2000 signatures on a petition demanding that Huntington management reinstate Almada and Lin.

If Huntington does not reinstate the RNs and make them whole for their losses, the NLRB will issue a formal indictment and a federal trial will occur before an Administrative Law Judge.
The California Nurses Association has requested that the NLRB seek a federal injunction to return Almada and Lin to work as soon as possible. Last year the NLRB found merit with a number of other Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges filed on behalf of the nurses by CNA. The NLRB will now move forward in addressing these charges and the violations of nurses’ rights in last year’s inconclusive union election.

In light of the NLRB’s recent decision community leaders, Huntington nurses and members of the Pasadena community are calling on the Huntington administration to stop wasting money on lawyers and appeals and return Almada and Lin to work immediately. Huntington should invest that money in nurses and quality patient care, nurses and supporters say.

RN Allysha Almada speaking at a Washington DC press conference in October last year in support of the
Workplace Democracy Act introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Mark Pocan.

February 3, 2016

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