Catholic hospital workers in Ohio reject unionization bid


About 6,500 employees with an Ohio-based Catholic health care group have rejected a unionization proposal.

The workers of Catholic Healthcare Partners cast votes on whether to be represented by the Service Employees International Union. The voting workers were non-management and included nurses, technical workers, maintenance staff and clerical workers from seven hospitals and eight nursing homes between Cincinnati and Springfield, Ohio.

At Community Health Partners in Springfield, 670 employees did vote to unionize.

Pete Gemmer, spokesman of Catholic Health Care Partners institution Mercy Hospital Fairfield, would not release specific results but told the Middletown Journal the vote was “pretty overwhelmingly against the union.”

Joyce Moscato of the Service Employees International Union said she thought the outcome would have been different if the election had gone ahead three years ago as originally planned.

Gemmer said that according to the agreement, the union will not be able to consider another vote for a minimum of three years.

As part of an agreement based on guidelines from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2009, neither Catholic Healthcare Partners, the co-owner of the local facilities, nor the union were allowed to campaign or solicit employees about their decision, the Springfield News-Sun reports.

That agreement took more than 10 years to secure. Hospital managers agreed not to use “traditional anti-union tactics” such as hiring union-busting firms to defeat organizing drives, while unions agreed not to make public attacks on Catholic health care organizations during labor campaigns.

Hundreds of thousands of employees work at nearly 600 Catholic hospitals nationwide.

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