The union alleges that Stanford Health Care illegally threatened workplaces held by security guards over plans to unionize

Teamsters, a union representing Stanford Health Care (SHC) security personnel, alleged in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) complaint that SHC threatened the jobs of its security personnel and fined an employee for arranging an illegal move.

Teamsters alleged that the hospital system had threatened that unionization could lead to “downsizing” and cause staff to “lose benefits,” it said last month. The union filed another complaint this week alleging that a worker had been “threatened, coerced and retaliated against” for exercising legally protected organizing rights.

The Teamsters’ Union has received emails from several Stanford security officers, obtained by The Daily, detailing multiple violations of NLRB rights. These include threats of replacement with contract security, changes in work assignments since the issue of organization arose, promises of promotion as a reward for non-unionism, and more.

According to a Bloomberg article, Teamsters has been trying for several months to unionize a group of more than 130 Stanford Health Care security workers. According to Pablo Barrera, the guards’ representative for Teamsters Local 853, in April the union asked Stanford to recognize and negotiate with the union.

In a comment to The Daily, Stanford Health Care spokeswoman Juile Greicius wrote that Stanford Health Care “respects the rights of all of our employees and believes that whether or not to join a union is each employee’s own decision.”

Greicius declined to comment on the specific allegations of management-level threats made in the filing.

According to Berrera, Stanford denied Teamsters’ motion on the grounds that, under the National Labor Relations Act, the appropriate way for workers to unionize would be through an NLRB-supervised labor committee election.

Greicius wrote, “In this particular case, the federal labor code prevents the Teamsters union from pursuing a traditional petition and NLRB election because the Teamsters represent other labor groups in addition to the guards, a fact the Teamsters have acknowledged and confirmed.”

The legal barrier in question, Section 9(b)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act, states that “[N]o Workers’ organizations must be certified as representatives of workers in a security guards bargaining unit where that organization admits membership or is directly or indirectly affiliated with an organization that admits workers other than security guards to membership.”

However, according to the Teamsters Union, Stanford can voluntarily recognize the union and begin negotiations for a fair contract.

“Although Section 9(b)(3) prohibits the NLRB from conducting an election for guards who wish to be represented by a union that admits both guards and non-guards, an employer may voluntarily recognize a ‘mixed guard union’ to handle ‘ wrote Barrera, who cited several instances where this was possible.

California lawmakers, such as State Representatives Ash Karla (27th District), Robert Rivas (30th District), Mark Stone (29th District) and Alex Lee (25th District), and State Senator Dave Cortese (15th District), have all sided the Teamsters joined Stanford in pursuing that option.

Berrera also outlined alternative procedures to effect the establishment of Teamsters Local 853 as the security officers’ recognized negotiating agent.

“First, the employer can voluntarily consent to a card verification process conducted by either the FMCS or another acceptable neutral third party. Second, the SHC and the Union can agree on an election process through the California State Mediation and Conciliation Service (CSMCS), which has agreed to conduct such an election under the same policies and procedures followed by the NLRB. Finally, SHC and the union can agree on an election process through a private agency such as Unilect Election Services, which has conducted numerous such elections for workers and management.”

“As both parties respect the right of these workers to freely form their own views regarding union representation, we are confident that the union and the SHC can agree on a process to achieve this,” Berrera wrote.

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