Queen of the Valley workers send delegation to CEO
NUHW members at Providence St. Joseph’s Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa sent a delegation to the home of CEO Larry Coomes on June 10.
The house call was precipitated by a complaint filed against the hospital by the National Labor Relations Board. The complaint, which was covered by the Napa Valley Register and KPIX CBS 5, accused Queen of the Valley of discriminating and retaliating against pro-union employees.
Workers have had little luck getting a meeting with Coomes, despite his claims of an open-door policy. So they brought coffee and donuts to his home and invited Coomes and his neighbors to discuss this issue.
Following the filing of the National Labor Relations Board’s complaint, more than two dozen Queen caregivers and allies organized the delegation to Coomes’ house to call on the CEO to put a stop to management coercion and intimidation, recognize their union, and begin bargaining in good faith.
The complaint issued by NLRB Regional Director Jill Coffman came in response to several unfair labor practice charges filed by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents 420 workers at the hospital.
Coffman requested that a federal labor board judge order the hospital to provide data it has withheld, allow the union access to the hospital grounds, and begin good-faith bargaining.
She also asked the judge to take the unusual step of ordering the hospital’s human resources director to read workers a notice spelling out their rights and how the hospital violated them. A labor board official would have to be present at staff meetings to confirm that the hospital complied.
“The fact that the NLRB wants a Queen administrator to verbally explain to employees how the hospital violated their rights — rather than merely posting a notice inside the hospital — shows the severity of the Queen’s anti-worker behavior,” NUHW President Sal Rosselli said.
Anacelia Trejo, a hospital cook, added, “We are thrilled that the labor board director took this action, and we are determined to continue standing up for ourselves and our patients against the Queen’s undemocratic actions — in the courtroom, in the political arena, in our hospital, and here in our community.”
“From the moment we began organizing, Queen executives have tried to intimidate us and bully us out of forming a union,” said Ray Herrera, a radiology technician. “They clearly don’t want a workforce with the power to shine a light on how they have compromised patient care to further increase their profits.”
NUHW decisively won an election late last year to represent the workers, who include nursing assistants, pharmacy technicians, and respiratory care practitioners, but the hospital has sought to overturn the result. After losing two appeals, Queen of the Valley announced in March that it would file a lawsuit against the federal labor board, arguing that the result should be overturned because the board conducted the union vote by mail rather than inside the hospital. Ninety percent of all eligible voters cast ballots in the vote-by-mail-election.