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Charges of unfair labor practices at IU Health move forward

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Friday afternoon, nurses working to form a union will make an announcement about their unionizing efforts and their charges of unfair labor practices at IU Health. The charges accuse IU Health of intimidation, retaliation, wrongful termination and more.

A regional director with the National Labor Relations Board has decided those charges have merit and deserve to go to trial. The decision does not mean IU Health has done anything wrong. A judge and the National Labor Relations Board will eventually make that call or IU Health could choose to settle out of court. An NLRB spokesperson said most cases like these are settled out of court.

The nurses believe they need a union because short-staffing has put patient safety at risk. The charges of unfair labor practices claim IU Health is illegally attempting to stop unionizing efforts, and fired nurse Lacie Little because of her active support of the union. IU Health wouldn’t talk to us about Little, but Little spoke to 24-Hour News 8 last month.

“I believe that they [IU Health] fired me to slow down the union momentum. I believe that they fired me to basically silence my voice or to try and silence my voice,” said Little.

Little said she just wants her job at IU Health back. A union spokesperson said reinstating Little will be a non-negotiable part of any settlement with IU Health.

“The fight for dignity and respect for nurses and the patients they care for continues even in the face of IUH’s desperate attempts to stop the nurses’ union drive. The efforts to organize the union arose from difficult conditions for nurses and the patients they care for. These efforts have been met with illegal resistance from the IUH administration. The injustices that came as a result of IUH’s illegal actions can be remedied, either through an agreement to bring Lacie Little back to work, or IUH can choose to force the nurses through a unnecessary legal battle which we believe we will eventually win. We call on IUH to be a good actor, respect their frontline staff, and follow the law. Nurse organizers have reached out in good faith to the IUH administration in the form of a proposed neutrality agreement; this offer was ignored. We call on the hospital to work on building an amicable relationship with the nurse organizers in order to mutually benefit all stakeholders and our community at large. We believe that by working together through our union, we can improve the working conditions that allow for nurses to provide exemplary patient care. We are and will continue to overcome the effects of the threats and propaganda employed by the IUH administration that violate the legal rights of nurses. Nurse organizers look forward to a helping build a better and stronger IUH system through their union,” said Randa Ruge in a statement to 24-Hour News 8.

There are nurses who are not in favor of a union, but many of those nurses told 24-Hour News 8 they recognize issues at IU Health that need to be fixed. An IU Health spokesperson has said, “IU Health believes a union will not enhance patient care and cannot deliver the changes nurses are seeking.”

Organizers hope to vote on bringing in the union sometime this summer.

24-Hour News 8 has reached out to IU Health multiple times about the charges of unfair labor practices. A spokesperson said they were looking into it, but never got back with us.

The nurses will make their announcement Friday at 4:45 p.m. at 15th Street and Capitol Avenue.