After the UAW ordered striking nurses to end their strike, confusion and chaos have caused the UAW to go on defense, attempting to explain the union’s actions.
TOLEDO, OH—A unilateral decision was made by the United Auto Workers to end nurses’ six-week strike at Mercy Health’s St. Vincent Memorial Hospital because the hospital was going to permanently replace striking nurses at 5 p.m. Friday, according to a Facebook video published Thursday by UAW Local 2B Director Rich Rankin.
The ‘unconditional offer to return to work‘ was made earlier this week and one day after St. Vincent’s held a job fair.
Rankin said the international union does not agree with Mercy Health’s decision, but the local union feels getting the striking nurses back into the hospital was “the best way to protect their jobs.”
Under the National Labor Relations Act, while it is unlawful to fire striking workers, it is lawful for an employer to permanently replace economic strikers.
On it’s Facebook page, UAW Region 2B criticized the union local’s leadership, stating:
“Due to misinformation being given by both Mercy Health and the Local 2213 President/Chairperson regarding the tentative agreement that has been reached, there will be NO ratification vote at UAW Local 12 on Thursday and Friday this week.”
“Without informing UAW Region 2B representatives, the Local 2213 Bargaining Committee held an informational meeting this evening (Wednesday). It is our belief that the membership has the right to be fully and accurately informed prior to voting on any contract.”
“I think we all have to return because the UAW cancelled the strike,” wrote one of the striking RN on Facebook.
“What I don’t understand is how the strike could be cancelled and us forced back to work in less than 24 hrs without any explanation from anyone higher than Sue?” she continued. “This is unheard of, and a slap in the face to all of your members. This is not ok.”
In some cases, it is possible that members who are upset with the UAW for ending their strike may not be familiar with their own union’s rules.
“Wherever the International Executive Board decides that it is unwise to no longer continue an existing strike,” the UAW’s constitution states, “it will order all members of Local Unions who have ceased work in connection therewith to resume work and thereupon and thereafter all assistance from the International Union shall cease.”