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Work Action Information

On March 1, 2019, the County officially assumed ownership and operations of O’Connor Hospital in San José, Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy, and De Paul Health Center in Morgan Hill.  The County acquired these hospitals in order prevent their closure due to bankruptcy, and to ensure the continued availability of healthcare throughout the County, including in South County.

In assuming operations for these facilities, the County welcomed many new employees and community physicians whose jobs would have otherwise been lost due to the bankruptcy of the hospitals’ former owner, Verity Health System.  

On the same day the County took ownership of the hospitals, the California Nurses Association (CNA) gave notice of its intent to strike on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, for a 24-hour period.  CNA does not represent any County employees, has not taken any of the steps necessary to become the lawful representative of any County employees, and is using the strike in its ongoing dispute with another labor union representing County nursing staff.  

“The County has taken all necessary steps to ensure CNA’s unlawful strike does not affect or undermine the healthcare provided by the County or the operations at any of its health facilities.  Patient care and employee safety remain the County’s top priorities.” 
  – County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith, M.D., J.D.

Additionally, the County is taking all appropriate steps to prevent CNA from undermining the County’s responsibility to work with nurses across its health system through the labor unions they have chosen: the Registered Nurses Professional Association (RNPA) and the County Employees Management Association (CEMA).  This includes a variety of filings with the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).  RNPA and CEMA have joined with the County in many of these filings opposing CNA's unlawful tactics.

“The County remains steadfast in its commitment to empowering and fostering a dedicated and compassionate workforce, especially with our nurses.  The County has always been, and will continue to be, supportive of protected labor activities and committed to collaborating with labor unions to ensure the highest level of employee professionalism and opportunity as we deliver high quality services and patient care in our robust new health care system.”
  – County Chief Operating Officer, Miguel Márquez

The County has prepared several documents that may help the community understand how the County’s acquisition of the new hospitals advances patient care and enhances patient access to healthcare, and why the County opposes CNA’s call for an unlawful strike.

Information about CNA’s Call for a Work Action

Information about County’s Charges against CNA for Unfair Labor Practices

​​​From the referenced document:
“Through its pending PERB charges against the County and other actions, CNA asks the County to violate its obligations to the public employee unions that are the authorized representatives of the County's workforce, while at the same time, CNA contradicts positions it has taken before the federal bankruptcy court on these matters, and seeks to force the County to accept obligations the bankruptcy court has stated the County cannot legally undertake.”

From the referenced document:​
“By attempting to interpose itself between the County and its employees' exclusive bargaining representatives, CNA is actively and intentionally sowing inter-union rivalries and dissension within the County's workforce, risking the County's ability to carry out its governmental functions. That CNA's wildcat strike targets the County's provision of critical, emergency, and life-saving medical services to sick and vulnerable residents served by the County Health System underscores precisely why the labor peace accomplished through the MMBA and the County's Local Rules' exclusive representation system serves such a compelling governmental interest.”

From the referenced document:​
“[T]he disputes between the County and [CNA] involves efforts by [CNA] to impair and interfere with RNPA’s right to represent the RN Bargaining Unit.”

From the referenced document:​
“As the recognized bargaining representative of a County-wide unit including Case Coordinators at O’Connor and St. Louise hospitals, CEMA should be joined in this matter. CEMA is directly impacted by the participation of any of its unit members in an illegal strike that violates its Memorandum of Understanding.”

Information about County’s Acquisition of New Hospitals and the Bankruptcy Court’s Termination of CNA's Representation of Nurses at the New Hospitals.

From the referenced document:​
“[T]he CBAs [collective bargaining agreements] must be rejected in order for the sale to close. Under Cal. Gov’t Code § 3500, Santa Clara cannot assume the CBAs, because Santa Clara’s existing employees are already represented by a union. Santa Clara is statutorily required to conduct all collective bargaining negotiations with this existing union.”

From the referenced document:​
“The Objecting Unions [including CNA] naturally would prefer to continue to be represented by their own collective bargaining organization; however, this result is precluded by California law. The bottom line is that the sale negotiated by the Debtors will preserve the jobs of most workers at the Hospitals.”

Information about CNA’s Charge against the County for Unfair Labor Practices

From the referenced document:​
​“CNA is not currently, and at no relevant time has it ever been, recognized by the County as the employee organization that represents any County employees. In addition, the federal bankruptcy court overseeing the sale of O'Connor and St. Louise hospitals has entered an Order rejecting CNA's collective bargaining agreement with the current employer upon the closing of the sale of the hospitals to the County.”

Last updated: 3/11/2019 2:49 PM