Archive for June, 2010

Ascension: Violating Federal Labor Laws

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Ascension’s abusive practices go far beyond Genesys Medical Center in Flint. The union representing registered nurses at Ascension’s Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), citing 32 violations of the federal law by Borgess.

The NLRB, after conducting a three-month investigation, has concluded that many of these charges have merit. Specifically, the NLRB will charge Borgess with the illegal restraint, interference and coercion of employees; unlawful discrimination against employees; and refusing to bargain in good faith. Significantly, the NLRB has concluded that Borgess adopted an illegal bargaining strategy at the inception of the negotiations, and that it insisted on contract proposals that violated the duty to bargain in good faith.

Ascension has had many of the same complaints filed against it by employees at Genesys. The outcome of those NLRB investigations are pending. You can read more about Ascension’s violation of federal labor laws here.

Union-Busting: A Mortal Sin?

Friday, June 4th, 2010

“Union busting refers to the action of any person who seeks to prevent employees from forming a labor union, or who attempts to undermine or destroy an existing union. This person is in grave material violation of Catholic Social Doctrine on labor unions.”

So begins an Open Statement recently published by Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice (CSWJ), entitled, “Union Busting Is A Mortal Sin.”

In it, CSWJ notes there are seven ways that “union-busting,” that is, the blocking, undermining, or destroying of a labor union, constitutes material for mortal sin, including:

1. The employer or manager steals the natural right of workers to free association.
2. The employer or manager steals just wages and benefits from workers and their families.
3. The employer or manager steals institutional funds to employ union avoidance firms to harass, intimidate, and divide workers.
4. The employer or manager steals the time of its workers and managers who are forced to take time away from their work (through mandatory meetings) and their families by spending evenings, weekends, months, and years struggling for something that employers should welcome from day one: an employee union in the workplace.

Does any of this sound familiar? Read the rest of the Open Statement here.