Judge upholds Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital union vote

An administrative law judge has rejected Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital's allegations that improper election tactics were used during a unionization vote late last year.

Hospital administrators claimed supporters of the National Union of Healthcare Workers engaged in electioneering near polling places and intimidated workers. They asked that the election results be "set aside" and that a new vote be conducted.

But the judge, William L. Schmidt, in May 28 report, said there was insufficient evidence to sustain Memorial's objections and recommended that the National Labor Relations Board certify NUHW as the exclusive collective bargaining unit for the employees.

"I am very excited. I'm very excited to move forward with organizing a union at Memorial Hospital," said Melissa BoSanco, a Memorial care partner and NUHW organizer

BoSanco said the administrative law judge's ruling is an affirmation of years of organizing at Memorial. "It was a clean election we had," she said. "It shows that the majority of workers at Memorial want to organize."

The December vote affects about 700 hospital employees, including radiology and respiratory technicians, nurses' aides, housekeepers and dietary workers.

Debra Miller, Memorial's vice president of human resources, called Schmidt's recommendation "a disappointment."

She said hospital officials lodged their objections because numerous employees who opposed union representation asked them to do so.

"The election in December was so close, I mean it was decided literally by one or two votes," she said.

Fawn Kraut, a business coordinator for surgical services, was among those <NO1><NO>who voted for no union representation. She said she hoped the hospital <NO1><NO>would appeal Schmidt's recommendation. Memorial has until June 11 to do so.

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