After a National Right to Work Foundation-assisted nurse at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester filed federal charges against the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) union for demanding illegal retroactive dues, union officials scrambled to send letters to hundreds of St. Vincent Hospital nurses confessing “error.” The MNA thus effectively admitted to being caught red-handed demanding dues payments for periods when the nurses owed no compulsory dues, claiming that the “billing/renewal notices were recently mailed in error.”

The news comes just ahead of an employee-requested election on whether MNA union officials should stay in power at the facility. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is sending ballots via mail to St. Vincent Hospital nurses today, and expects to count the ballots on February 28. St. Vincent nurse Richard Avola submitted a petition to the NLRB in January demonstrating that hundreds of his coworkers requested such a vote to oust the MNA. The petition follows the conclusion of a 300+ day MNA-ordered strike that divided the hospital and the community and sparked multiple reports of bullying and harassment of nurses by union agents.

Regina Renaud, the St. Vincent nurse who charged the MNA with making illegal dues demands, reported in January that she had received a bill from union officials demanding that she pay dues retroactive to November 1, 2021. That includes a period during the strike when no compulsory dues contract was in effect. Her charge noted that “as a matter of law [she] and other similarly situated employees owed no dues or fees to the MNA,” because there was a strike and contract hiatus. Renaud is not a member of the MNA.

Despite MNA bosses telling media outlets that Renaud’s unfair labor practice charge has “no validity,” hundreds of St. Vincent Hospital nurses are now reporting getting letters from MNA officials rescinding all demands for dues payments for the strike period. MNA’s letters are dated January 12, one day after Renaud filed her charge with the NLRB. The MNA’s “error” letters note that while the union is scurrying to “clean up” its billing records, nurses may receive additional unlawful demands for dues payments because those bills “may slip past our filters and be mailed.”

“MNA union bosses were caught red-handed making illegal demands for retroactive dues. While they told media outlets the unfair labor practice charges were meritless, their own actions show a desperate attempt to cover up their violation of nurses’ rights under federal labor law,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Given MNA union officials’ demonstrated willingness to play fast and loose with the legal rights of those they claim to ‘represent,’ St. Vincent nurses should stay vigilant about further union misrepresentations and excessive dues demands, especially as they now consider whether to remove the union from their workplace.”

“As St. Vincent nurses make their voices heard in the decertification election, they should know they can contact the Foundation for free legal aid if union agents attempt to silence or overbill nurses opposed to unionization, or interfere with their right to vote,” Mix added.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.

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