Administration, nurses square off at Enloe

After a fairly long stretch of harmony, at least as viewed from the outside, apparently the administration and the nurses are scrapping over union issues again within the walls of Enloe Medical Center.

This time, the union, which was voted in by RNs after a high-profile battle three years ago, has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board saying that hospital failed to bargain with the union when it established a mandatory on-call policy for the maternity ward.

The complaint also says the administration violated the union contract when it negotiated “directly and individually with employees regarding the effects” of the policy, “[C]oached two employees who had expressed concerns about working conditions and told employees not to complain to co-workers about working conditions but rather bring such complaints to management.”

Liz Jacobs, a spokesperson for the Oakland-based California Nurses Association, said the alleged contract violation was simply one more link in a long chain of “bad-faith bargaining” and anti-union campaigns by the administration dating back to the union vote.

“When will the hospital stop this and move forward?” she asked. “They have a dedicated corps of nurses who have persevered through so much contention on the part of the hospital. Now they are starting to lose nurses to Oroville.”

Pam Sime, vice president of human resources for the hospital, downplayed the news and said the complaint stems from labor practice and not with the contract.

“The board said we were within in our rights to make the decision [for mandatory overtime],” she explained. “If we had the right to make the decision and its effects don’t affect the contract, we were OK.”

Unless both sides come to an agreement on the matter, an administrative hearing will be held in Chico on Oct. 28.

“It is the principle, not necessarily the policy mandating forced overtime. All they have to do is sign a statement that says ‘We will negotiate,'” Jacobs said.

In addition, on Aug. 14, the CNA filed a grievance with the NLRB on the behalf of nurse Sharon Roberts, who’d been disciplined by management for comments she’d made during a July 11 class.