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Nurses accuse IU Health of unfair labor practices

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — IU Health said in a statement that it’s being portrayed as a villain in an ongoing battle with some of its staff. Nurses have been trying to form a union but said administration is illegally trying to stop them.

The nurses claim IU Health is using intimidation, retaliation, even termination to silence their desire to unionize. They took 17 of those complaints to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Union reps said the NLRB feels 15 of them have merit.

Inside the United Steelworkers Union Hall was a group of nurses hoping to form its own chapter, an effort they say is being interfered with illegally.

In documents filed with the NLRB, the nurses accuse IU Health of interrogating workers on whether or not they’re pro-union. They also claim nurse Lacie Little was wrongfully fired because she was trying to rally support while at work. Nurse Tiffany Skillman said it’s created a sense of fear at IU Health Methodist Hospital.

“Whether they are on or off the clock, they are looking around to see who might be overhearing the conversation,” Skillman said.

IU Health fired back saying in a statement:

IU Health respects team members’ legal right to organize and to have full access to complete, factual information about what it means to be represented by a labor union.”

To be safe, nurses say they’ve moved the union conversation off property, but they’re not backing down on their complaints. Skillman added that the NLRB said that only 38% of similar accusations actually have merit.

“The fact that the NLRB takes us seriously and thinks that there’s merit with these accusations is a positive sign,” said Skillman.

IU Health said it’s taking the complaints seriously but that doesn’t mean it’s admitting fault.

In the statement it said:

Alleging wrongdoing is a common tactic used by unions during organizing campaigns, particularly when the union is having difficulty getting employees interested in unionization.”

“I’ve been on many organizing drives throughout my 23-year career with the union. It’s nothing more than a play out of their playbook,” said Brett Voorhies, Indiana AFL-CIO president.

The NLRB said IU Health has two options. It can settle the matter out of court. Part of that would include giving the nurse who was fired her job back. Or IU Health could let the complaints go before a judge who would then decide if IU Health is guilty of them, a ruling that could takes weeks to happen.