Staff attorneys at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation are now representing Richard Avola, a nurse at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, MA, in his and his colleagues’ push to eject unpopular Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) union bosses from the hospital. Avola filed a “decertification petition” in late December with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), accompanied by hundreds of his coworkers’ signatures seeking an NLRB vote on whether to remove the union.
Avola and his coworkers’ petition comes as a protracted strike MNA bosses ordered against St. Vincent Hospital has drawn to a close. Media reports indicate that union militants harassed and bullied nurses who returned to the hospital to care for patients during the over 300-day strike. Union partisans reportedly put photographs of working nurses on strike paraphernalia and took illicit pictures of nurses’ license plates. Despite credible reports of union harassment of nurses who exercised their right to work, high-profile elected officials including U.S. Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren expressed support for the union boss-ordered strike.
In response to inquiries from nurses impacted by the union bosses’ strike order, Foundation staff attorneys in March issued a legal notice informing St. Vincent nurses of their right to work during the strike and to cut off dues payments to the MNA hierarchy. The notice offered free legal aid to St. Vincent nurses who encountered union pushback in the exercise of their individual rights.
Foundation attorneys have helped nurses and hospital employees in several cases in recent years. In October, nurse Jeanette Geary won her decade-long case against United Nurses and Allied Professionals bosses in Rhode Island who ignored her right not to fund union lobbying. Foundation attorneys have also represented Swedish Medical Center employees in Seattle, a therapist who successfully decertified the union at Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas, Rush University Medical Center workers in Chicago, a nurse at Corpus Christi Medical Center in Texas, and others.
“It’s easy to see why Mr. Avola and his coworkers want to oust MNA operatives from St. Vincent Hospital: Union bosses forced nurses to endure a gruelingly long strike, while those who went back to work and refused to abandon their patients faced harassment and intimidation tactics,” observed National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Foundation staff attorneys will fight to ensure that St. Vincent hospital nurses can freely exercise their right to dispense with unwanted union ‘representation,’ and will battle any union boss attempts to hamper that right.”