Editorial: A good move by the county

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By The Staff

More than two years ago, employees at Alta Vista Regional Hospital overwhelmingly approved a union to represent them. But the hospital — run by Tennessee-based Community Health Systems — has refused to talk with the organization, District 1199 of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees.

Nevertheless, the National Labor Relations Board has certified the union and rejected Alta Vista’s appeals. At one point, the corporation tried to make the case that the election was invalid because it started one minute late. Such stalling is what you do when you have a presumably well-paid team of lawyers.

For the most part, local politicians have been mostly silent on the union issue. Most are Democrat, yet they haven’t taken a stand in favor of the union, which represents working people in Las Vegas.

That changed last week when County Commissioner Nicolas Leger asked that his colleagues vote to delay paying Alta Vista its monthly payment for providing services to indigent patients. He said he first wanted to see hospital representatives personally appear before the commission to answer questions. He said he wanted to ask about the hospital’s failure to negotiate for the union.

As a result, the commission voted to delay the payment until next month and invite hospital officials to a commission meeting. This is a determined move.

Let’s hope our other local politicians — particularly our state legislators — add to the pressure. The hospital needs to recognize its workers’ right to unionize and sit down to talk. This impasse needs to be overcome.