November 23, 2014

Elyria
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Hospital workers reject union

LORAIN — Only 16 of the more than 1,200 nonunion hospital employees at Community Regional Medical Center have accepted an offer to join the Service Employees International Union.

The hospital agreed to allow its employees to vote Thursday on whether to join the union, which already represents nearly 600 registered nurses.

Employees voted by secret ballot in groups defined by their job set at the hospital, located on the far west side of Lorain. Union representation was granted only if the majority of each group voted for it.

The skilled maintenance unit, composed of 16 employees, was the only group to accept the offer in a 10-to-3 vote, with three members absent. Just 516 employees voted, even though about 870 were eligible, said hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Kennedy. The professional, technical and business clerical units all shot down the offer.

“We’re happy the associates had an opportunity to choose whether they wanted to be in a union,” she said. “We’re very pleased with the process.”

It wasn’t immediately clear why so many employees voted against joining a union, Kennedy said. Union spokeswoman Joyce Moscato said it was more important that employees had a chance to voice their opinion.

“They were able to make a decision without pressure of any kind, and some came to the conclusion to join and some came to the conclusion not to join,” Moscato said.

The results of one unit’s vote were not available because it wasn’t immediately clear whether the individuals who cast 10 ballots were eligible to vote based on length of employment and other factors. Without those 10 votes, the tally from the non-professional unit vote was 123-to-122 against joining the union.

The National Labor Relations Board, which oversaw the process, has not set a date but could finalize the election soon.

Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 or awright@chroniclet.com.