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Nurses May Unionize, Opponent Claims Foul Play

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 11:48pm

Employees at two El Paso hospitals may soon unionize.

The first vote was Wednesday at Sierra Medical Center for non-professional employees.
Next week, registered nurses are expected to vote at Providence too.

But the whole union process has been frustrating for Perry Pielaet, a nurse of 25 years at Providence who's against unionizing.

He said union reps for the National Nurses Organizing Committee were allowed to talk to nurses since the start of September and hold informational meetings.

He wasn't allowed to hold meetings in opposition at the hospital, because of a policy that won't let off-duty nurses on the premises.

"Unfortunately, we were denied meeting rooms at Providence," said Pielaet. "So we had to go across the street to Burger King, just from the fact that if we met at Providence, we might be terminated."

That, Pielaet said, is against Labor Laws.
So, the hospital eventually agreed to allow them to congregate, but not until this past Monday. A whole month after NNOC reps showed up.

Pielaet now thinks it's too little too late, and has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.

Representatives from the Sierra Providence Health Network did not address the policy issue when asked for a statement.

"Providence Memorial Hospital and Sierra Medical Center believe it is best for employees and management to work together without the involvement of a union," said Rick Glancey, a spokesman for SPHN.

"Regardless of the election outcome, we will continue to focus on providing high-quality care to our patients and the El Paso community," he said.

The voting results for Wednesday's vote are expected Thursday morning.


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