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Federal court orders Fallbrook Hospital to engage in negotiations with nurses

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
Issue 24, Volume 17.
Debbie Ramsey
Managing Editor

On Tuesday, June 11, Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel of the United States District Court, Southern California issued a Temporary Injunction under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act requiring Fallbrook Hospital to consider proposals from the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee AFL/CIO (union) or present its own in collective bargaining agreement negotiations in addition to other directives.

According to a statement from the California Nurses Association, the injunction is "intended to force Fallbrook to comply with federal labor law or face serious penalties that could range from fines to criminal contempt findings if it does not comply." The association said the injunction was ordered "at the request of the National Labor Relations Board following a scathing decision last month by National Labor Relations board administrative law judge, Eleanor Laws. The association contends that Fallbrook Hospital has "engaged in avoidance tactics to prevent contract talks."

In addition to considering a union contract proposal or presenting its own, the judge also ordered Fallbrook Hospital, pending final board adjudication, to:

*Meet with and bargain with the union (CAN) in good faith regarding terms and conditions of employment Advertisement
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*Meet and bargain with the union about the terminations of unit employees Martha Robinson and Libby Sandwell.

*Post copies of the U.S. District Court's Order in English at Fallbrook Hospital where notices to employees are customarily posted with all employees having access to it.

*Provide a list of Registered Nurses in the emergency room that have been terminated within the last three years and the reasons for those terminations.

*File a sworn affidavit that Fallbrook Hospital has complied with all items on the Court Order, including copies of all correspondence relating to the above and the dates scheduled for negotiation meetings.

The union said Fallbrook Hospital is "one of five hospitals in California, Ohio, and West Virginia that are part of one of the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chains, Tennessee-based Community Health Systems where affiliates of National Nurses United are pursuing federal action for significant violations of RN rights."

Fallbrook Hospital has declined to comment on the matter.

Judge Curiel's court order stated that once Fallbrook Hospital has complied with these obligations and upon final disposition of the matters pending before the board, the proceeding would be dismissed.

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