Five nurses employed by Tri-City Medical Center have filed a lawsuit against the hospital alleging "intimidation, coercion and harassment" by supervisors who oppose the formation of a union.
Lawyers representing the American Federation of Nurses filed the suit Tuesday in Vista Superior Court.
The suit stems from incidents that allegedly occurred in October when five nurses claimed they were bullied by supervisors for openly supporting the fledgling nursing union that was formed in September.
As a result of her union activities, nurse Carol Cadwallader claims that she "has been subject to heightened and unfair scrutiny," the suit states. In order to keep her job, Cadwallader was told she had to take a charting class, but no instruction was provided by the hospital.
Another plaintiff, whose pro-union activities were also well-known to supervisors, alleges that she was "physically abused" for wearing a union button. Donna George contends in the suit that her supervisor ordered her to remove her button then jabbed her fingers into George's chest four to five times.
A third nurse, Darlene Garrahy, said an administrator subjected her to a "loud, harsh, aggressive and intimidating verbal confrontation" the day Garrahy's comments supporting the unionization effort appeared in a newspaper article. The administrator later apologized for her behavior.
A spokeswoman for Tri-City Chief Executive Officer Leon Hooper said he did not know the suit had been filed and had no comment on the allegations.
"The hospital desperately wants to stop the unionization effort," said Dave Bullock, regional director of the American Federation of Nurses.