Unions and Nonprofits

The Springfield community showed its support Wednesday for the Community Mercy Health Partners hospital’s employees to have the freedom to decide whether or not to join a union. An advertisement of a petition featuring 3,500 Springfield residents’ signatures and a request for fairness was featured in several local newspapers, including theSpringfield News-Sun. The ad asks hospital administrators to allow for open discussion, to refrain from negative campaigning and intimidation tactics, to not spend money on anti-union consultants and to avoid delays or legal challenges. Workers expressed their intent to join the Service Employees International Union to Andrew McColloch, the hospital’s chief executive officer, in February. Six complaints by the hospital’s employees were filed with the National Labor Relations Board on March 15.

While two of the claims were closed as of early May, four remained open, including an allegation that managers intimidated employees in the initial stage of organizing.The hospital stated in an e-mail to the Dayton Business Journal recently that it will not interfere with employees’ “freedom to express his or her personal views.” It also said its employees are able to do their jobs without the aid of a third party. The Community Mercy Health Partners hospital was formed last July by a merger between Community Hospital and Mercy Medical Center. The union targeted the hospital because it is one of five in the Catholic Health Partners organization, and the union says its hospitals are nonprofits that concentrate too much on the bottom line and use unfair practices to charge uninsured patients. The SEIU is based in Washington, D.C., and has 1.8 million members from professions including health systems, public services and building services.

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