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Union organization squelched for now



Published: Tue, May 22, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A union official said the SEIU will keep trying to organize workers at Sharon Regional Health System.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

SHARON, Pa. -- The Service Employees International Union won't challenge a National Labor Relations Board decision not to overturn the results of a union representation vote at Sharon Regional Health System.

A NLRB hearing officer rejected the union's arguments the hospital coerced and threatened its employees into voting against the union organizing effort and determined the 3-1 margin of rejection showed the intent of the targeted employee group.

Nearly 600 nonprofessional, skilled maintenance and business office clerical employees were eligible to vote in the Feb. 22 election. The vote was 360 to 183 against the SEIU.

"We won't file an appeal," said Virginia Bullard, organizing director of Local 627 based in Liberty Township, Ohio. The NLRB will now certify the election results, she said.

That doesn't mean the union is giving up trying to organize the employees.

"We have to start all over again," Bullard said, noting another petition seeking a union representation vote for the same employee group can be filed with the NLRB one year after the Feb. 22 election.

Bouncing back: She said organizers have already begun holding meetings and getting union interest cards signed again. At least 30 percent of the target group must sign those cards to hold an election, she said.

Hospital officials said they were pleased with the decision of the NLRB hearing officer.

The officer dismissed those objections, ruled the election was proper, Sharon Regional acted fairly and the results of the election should be certified as final, the statement said.

The SEIU is also trying to organize other employee groups at Sharon Regional, including the registered nurses, professional and technical staff as separate bargaining units.

The Security, Police & amp; Fire Professionals of America Local 502 based in Pittsburgh successfully organized the hospital's seven security guards in a March 28 election.




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