Federal Government to Prosecute Beverly Hospital
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2012
Contact: Jeff Rogers
Montebello, CA – Yesterday the federal government announced its decision to prosecute Beverly Hospital for its unlawful negotiation tactics that have thwarted agreement on a first contract with its Registered Nurses. Money spent on drawing out bargaining for over a year could have been spent to fix the Hospital’s deteriorating structural conditions and broken equipment.
Just over a week ago, on Friday, March 9, Cal-OSHA visited Beverly to investigate, following reports of a malfunctioning Code Blue system in Intensive Care, malfunctioning electrical outlets, mold and water damage in ICU, Telemetry and Maternal/Child units, and flooding.
“Our community deserves better,” said Susan Justin, RN, a nurse at Beverly Hospital. “It’s past time for Beverly to come together with nurses to protect patient safety while respecting the care that we provide our patients and our contributions to the hospital.”
In determining to prosecute Beverly, the National Labor Relations Board Region 21’s neutral investigation found that the hospital exhibited bad faith bargaining by:
• Refusing to schedule bargaining dates in advance
• Refusing to agree to bargain more frequently
• Delaying responses to the RNs’ proposals
• Refusing to provide information needed for bargaining
• Demanding to bargain over issues where it had not provided information required by the RNs to develop bargaining proposals
“Beverly has likely spent hundreds of thousands of dollars that could have gone to fixing their leaky roof and meeting safe staffing levels on a high-priced lawyer from outside the community,” said Ken Deitz, RN, President of UNAC/UHCP, the union for Beverly RNs. “These bad faith delay tactics have only dragged out negotiations unnecessarily, and led to a federal prosecution of the hospital.”
Community and elected leaders from Congress to local city government and faith leaders have called on Beverly for months to address unsafe staffing levels, broken equipment and needed hospital repairs, and to bargain in good faith with nurses. The community came together in an candlelight vigil and food drive with nurses, as well as through letters, a petition drive and over a dozen visits to Beverly’s CEO Gary Kiff to support common sense improvements in the hospital that would benefit patients.
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Beverly RNs are members of the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals, the largest nurses union in Southern California representing over 20,000 Registered Nurses and other health care professionals. UNAC/UHCP is affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.
“We hope this decision moves management to sit down with us and finally negotiate in good faith so that we can wrap up the few remaining issues,” said Veronica Arellano, RN at Beverly. “We’re close. Let’s get an agreement, and work together to give our patients and the community the best care possible.”
For more information on Beverly RNs’ campaign to improve patient care at Beverly Hospital, visit www.demandqualitycare.org