Trinity clinic workers fired after helping organize union are fighting to be returned to their jobs
Federal officials will conduct a hearing on workers’ charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board that spell out Trinity’s unlawful retaliation, interfering with their right to organize & general illegal union-busting actions
Detroit, MI— Earlier this year, after lab workers at Trinity’s Ann Arbor outpatient clinic began organizing to form a union, Trinity responded with a slew of union-busting tactics, including mandatory anti-union meetings, attempted surveillance, and ultimately the illegal termination of 12 pro-union workers and their supervisor who refused to engage in unlawful surveillance. Beginning Tuesday, these workers will testify in front of the National Labor Relations Board to challenge their illegal termination and seek to be reinstated.
“Trinity’s illegal actions not only took away my livelihood and added huge stress to my life, but it negatively impacted our patients too. We shouldn’t have to fight for months for our rights to be upheld. Employers in this country have a responsibility to follow the law and respect workers’ rights. It’s sad that it has to come to this point for Trinity to be held accountable for its actions,” said Julie Furciarelli, Team Lead for Outpatient Labs and employee of Trinity Health for 8 years.
WHAT: National Labor Relations Board hearing
WHEN: Beginning Tuesday, September 26, 2023, 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: Patrick V. McNamara Federal Building, 477 Michigan Avenue, Room 05-200 Detroit, MI 48226
“After being unlawfully terminated, I’m still dealing with the fallout of Trinity’s actions. They have financially ruined me and caused me mental and emotional stress. It is disgusting that Trinity, with its Catholic foundations and values that promote worker dignity, still refuses to do the right thing,” said Tiffany Hammoud, Patient Service Representative for 6 years at Trinity Ann Arbor Outpatient Lab.
Following the illegal termination of the 12 workers in March, and in spite of continued anti-union activities, 70 lab workers from Trinity Health Outpatient Laboratories went on to win their union election.
Meanwhile, workers at other Trinity Health facilities across the state continue to raise the alarm about Trinity’s egregious union-busting and failure to invest in and respect its workers:
Last month, workers at Trinity Health Grand Haven went on strike to call out Trinity’s bad faith bargaining, repeated attempts to undermine the union, a lack of community investment, and low wages.
In the past six months, SEIU Healthcare Michigan has filed dozens of unfair labor practice charges detailing 18 violations so far on behalf of workers, alleging repeated, illegal attempts to undermine workers’ rights.
At McAuley Rehabilitation and Wellness Senior Communities facilities, Trinity refuses to furnish mandatory information and refuses to bargain in good faith, while making threats to workers and surveilling protected concerted activities.
“It’s clear that Trinity Health is more focused on violating worker’s rights rather than solving problems and coming to an agreement on a fair contract. We cannot recruit and retain staff at our hospital until Trinity raises wages that are competitive with what other West Michigan hospital workers make,” said Erin Dexter, an ultrasound tech at Trinity Health Grand Haven.
Background on Unlawful Termination
In January 2023, the lab workers began organizing a union with SEIU because of multiple worker and patient safety incidents that Trinity Health had failed to address. After learning of the union campaign, Trinity began hosting anti-union meetings in an attempt to discourage unionization. Despite this, union support continued to grow.
In response, Trinity Health ordered the lab’s clinical manager to go through the worker’s belongings to look for Union materials. The manager refused, and they were terminated. This termination created panic among the lab workers, and they were given permission and encouragement to leave by the lab lead, who called them individually to inform them of the termination and an option to clock out early. However, Trinity prevented the workers from returning to work that week and then used it as an excuse to permanently terminate 12 pro-union workers.
On August 15, 2023, Region 7 of the National Labor Relations Board, on behalf of the General Counsel, issued a complaint against Trinity, asserting that Trinity violated the NLRA in at least 12 different ways, including the unlawful termination of the 12 Trinity workers and their supervisor.