Illegal Pre-Recognition Bargaining

Say what?  Now that’s a new term for me: “illegal pre-recognition bargaining” and we can thank the California Nurses Association for the phrase that pays.

It seems that the CNA and Houston-based Tenet Healthcare Medical Centers have gotten a little too cozy by developing an Election Procedures Agreement (EPA) that is designed to assist the CNA in organizing nurses into the union throughout Texas.  According to 2 nurses that have filed federal charges against both CNA and Tenet, the EPA subverts the NLRB’s role in supervising union certification elections and bypasses employee protections.
Basically Tenet managers are gagged from responding to employee questions about unionization and nurses who oppose the union have been forbidden from using any Tenet facilities to express their views.  Meanwhile the pro-CNA nurses and non-employee union organizers have free run of the Tenet facilities.  Come election time the NLRB’s oversight of election conduct is eliminated and the agreement calls for the NLRB to merely count ballots and “certify” the union.
What’s wrong with this picture?  It is essentially an agreement to allow CNA organizers to obtain union monopoly bargaining power at Tenet locations throughout Texas including the locations where the 2 nurses work (Cypress Fairbanks and Park Plaza).  Coming to their aid with free legal assistance is the National Right to Work Legal Defense foundation staff attorneys.
And they have provided my favorite quote of the day: “California union militants, with the assistance of complicit Tenet officials, are attempting to sweep nurses across the state of Texas into union ranks, like it or not,” says Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation.  “What isn’t yet clear is exactly what Tenet received in exchange for helping union officials gain access to hundreds of thousands of dollars in union dues.  If similar agreements elsewhere are any indication, CNA may have sold out the employee’s interests to become Tenet’s favored union.”
 
Are you saying that this was really all about money? Dues money and not what’s in the best interest of the nurses but rather the CNA’s inability to organize fair and square.  Well, that changes everything…
Which brings me back to the phrase that pays, “illegal pre-recognition bargaining”.  The charges, which will now be investigated by the NLRB, also state that the EPA scheme amounts to illegal pre-cognition bargaining, with union officials negotiating substantive terms of employment for nurses before they have the legal authority to represent a single employee.
Bad Tenet, bad CNA, bad, bad, bad union militants…