Workers at another Catholic institution have formed a union! At the start of November, a majority of the nurses at Baltimore’s Ascension St. Agnes Hospital voted to join National Nurses United. The nurses were concerned with understaffing at the hospital.
Ascension, a Catholic health care chain with hospitals and nursing homes across the country, has nurtured an anti-labor reputation by consistently resisting its nurses’ efforts to organize, often committing labor law violations that brought management before the National Labor Relations Board. In the Baltimore case, Maryland Catholic Labor Network activists were obliged to call hospital management, reminding them of Catholic teaching on labor unions.
Ascension’s “union avoidance” activities created hardship and misery for many targeted employees but failed to dissuade the nurses from organizing. The hospital is now obliged to bargain with them for a first contract.