Labor and Health Care Issues
National Labor Relations Board Issues Complaint against West Springfield-Based Trinity Health at Home for Refusing to Negotiate with Nurses
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The National Labor Relations Board issued a formal complaint on Thursday against Trinity Health at Home for refusing to negotiate with its registered nurses and healthcare professionals, who voted to unionize with the Massachusetts Nurses Association last fall.
Acting Regional NLRB Director Paul J. Murphy wrote in the complaint that Trinity “has failed and refused to recognize and bargain with the Union” since Dec. 4, 2017. Murphy scheduled a hearing before an administrative law judge on May 8, 2018 at the Thomas P. O’Neill Jr. Federal Building in Boston. The NRLB is seeking an order requiring Trinity to bargain in good faith with its unionized nurses and healthcare professionals.
“We voted to join the MNA so that our nurses and other health care professionals have a real, independent voice in the quality of care we provide our patients,” said Chris Mangano, an RN at Trinity Health at Home. “The National Labor Relations Board recognizes our right to join together and advocate for improved workplace and patient care conditions. Trinity should do the same and quickly agree to negotiate a fair first contract.”
With their vote to become part of the MNA on Sept. 19, 2017, the Trinity at Home nurses and health care professionals joined more than 400 RNs at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield and Providence Behavioral Health Hospital in Holyoke who already belong to the association. All three organizations are owned by Trinity Health. The MNA has more than 23,000 members throughout the state.
Trinity at Home professionals were supported in their effort to unionize by MNA members at Mercy Medical Center and Providence Behavioral Health Center.
“We have been MNA members for decades, providing us with a strong and protected voice to advocate for our patients and ourselves,” said Cathy Penniman, RN, BSN, at Mercy Medical Center and a member of her hospital’s MNA Bargaining Committee. “Through our union we have forged a positive relationship with hospital management. We are proud to belong to the MNA and proud of what our union voice has allowed us to achieve.”
The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency vested with the power to safeguard employees' rights to organize and to determine whether to have unions as their bargaining representative, according to its website. The agency also acts to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices committed by private sector employers and unions.
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.