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Hospital employee signup with bargaining agent imminent

2/21/74

The Communication Workers of America (CWA) are virtually certain,to become the bargaining agents for the employees of the Middlesex Hospital for the ChronicaIIy Ill of North Brunswick it was announced at yesterdays meeting of the Eesex County Welfare Board.

At that meeting, Mary Hollis, director of the board, stated she had been informed by Ed Schultz, a CWA representative, that of the 43 employes at the hospital eligible for union membership, 37 had signed cards indicating their desire for CWA coverage.

None of the board members expressed any doubts of Schultz’ claim. The unanimous opinion was that the union should be quickly recognized so as to avoid the lengthy process of scheduling an election to be supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.

The status of the licensed practical nurses at the hospital remains in question. Freeholder Elliott Mayo, a member of the welfare board, believes the practical nurses are forbidden by their professional organization to belong to any labor union.  But Schultz disagreed last night. “Many licensed practical nurses belong to hospital unions in other towns,” he said.

The dispute of who can belong to the union and who cannot was to be settled at a 10:30 a.m. meeting today between Schultz and Mrs. Hollis at the welfare board offices at Livingston Avenue and New Street.

However the issue is decided will have no effect on whether the union is recognized as the hospital employes* bargaining representative, the board was fold. Mayo concedes that the workers have "a high degree of what they consider insecurity.”

“At one time,” he explains, “some of the members of the welfare board other than myself felt that we shouldn’t be operating a hospital. But I’m convinced that the hospital is the responsibility of the welfare board and the board of freeholders, and now the other members are in complete and unanimous agreement.

“I have tried to explain this to the workers at the hospital,” Mayo continued, “and assure them that all operations there will be maintained. But for a number of reasons they still feel insecure.”

“I always feel disappointed when employes feel they will be better represented with a union,” he added.

When asked why the hospital workers have opted for union coverage, Schultz replied, “Three reasons—job security, more dignity, and better wages.”
 

Read the original article here.