In a legal battle pitting the nation’s largest healthcare union against the nation’s largest hospital owner, bargaining units of the Service Employees International Union are suing Nashville-based HCA over the system’s goal of having all of its direct-care workers receive flu shots.
Union sues HCA over flu-shot push
In amended federal complaints filed Nov. 2 against HCA’s five hospitals in northern California and its two unionized hospitals in Nevada, labor officials are seeking a restraining order to block the for-profit hospital owner’s policy of forcing any hands-on care provider who has not been immunized against the flu virus to wear a surgical mask during all working hours except lunch for the duration of the flu season.
Both sides agree that the policy applies to the seasonal flu vaccine. However HCA disputes the union’s contention that the system has the same requirement in place for the H1N1 vaccine.
Union officials say the policy should have been subject to negations since it affects employment terms, but HCA has declined to bargain. HCA officials said the policy is part of their comprehensive infection-control program to protect workers and patients, and they plan to continue moving forward with it.
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