Nurses Claim Intimidation by Holy Cross Management
Nurses who are trying to unionize at Holy Cross Hospital claim they are being intimidated by management.
Susan Yeh, a nurse at the hospital, said she has been followed by her manager, by security and by human resources when she has tried to meet with colleagues about efforts to organize the nursing staff.
National Nurses United, the largest nursing union in the country with 170,000 members, is trying to organize the Holy Cross nurses, said Corey Lanham, collective bargaining director for the Mid-Atlantic Region. Holy Cross would be NNU’s first union in Maryland.
Holy Cross spokesperson Yolanda Gaskins declined to comment on the intimidation charges directly, providing a statement to a reporter, which included:
“We value our one-on-one relationships among all colleagues at Holy Cross Health, and we aspire to protect and cultivate our strong workplace culture through direct communication and engagement. That includes maintaining an ongoing and open dialogue with our staff about things that we do well and things that we can improve, and consistently working with colleagues to collaboratively address issues,” she wrote.
Dozens of people showed up for a demonstration to unionize outside the hospital Monday. A counter-demonstration in support of the hospital occurred across the street.
“We’re doing it from our heart. It’s not for money. It’s to take care of patients. That’s all we want,” clinical nurse Joy Richardson said at the demonstration. “We need the community to stand with us.”
In an opinion piece published by the Washington Examiner, nurse Sheila Vicenzi wrote, “It’s true many of us wish the nurse/patient ratio were better, but those of us who have worked at union hospitals before (quite a few of us) know that unions don’t necessarily improve that situation, and in fact often make it worse.”
An attempt to reach Vicenzi was unsuccessful.
Here is Gaskins’ full statement:
Holy Cross has been privileged to serve this community for over 50 years. We take this responsibility seriously, demonstrating it through significant community benefit provided to the region, reinvestment in our hospitals and health centers to provide high quality and accessible care to all. Today, Holy Cross Hospital demonstrated that in maintaining the high quality and service oriented care while groups of nurses rallied outside the hospital both for and against unionization.
We value our one-on-one relationships among all colleagues at Holy Cross Health, and we aspire to protect and cultivate our strong workplace culture through direct communication and engagement. That includes maintaining an ongoing and open dialogue with our staff about things that we do well and things that we can improve, and consistently working with colleagues to collaboratively address issues.
It is our belief that continuing this regular, direct engagement is absolutely critical to consistently delivering high-quality care to our patients, as well as creating a rewarding place to work. We respect our employees’ rights to explore associations with third party organizations. However, we also have significant concerns that the involvement of any third party organization in our workplace could disrupt the open and collaborative workplace we have long worked to maintain.
We will continue to educate and inform Holy Cross Health colleagues about their rights, as well as describe our vision for what best serves the needs of our staff, our patients, and the communities we serve.