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Hospital Backs Workers Against Union Dues

Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, Wash. has decided not to fire four employees Friday despite pressure from their union, which claims they owe dues from when there wasn’t even a labor contract.

Nina Bennett, Tori Denniston, Ryan Reedy and Edgar Schlittenhart, all employees at the hospital, have refused to pay Local 1199NW of the Service Employees International Union thousands of dollars worth of dues from a period of time there was no labor agreement in place. The union, however, was trying to get the employees fired for not paying.

“It was sent out in an email from human resources,” Schlittenhart told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “I appreciate them for standing up for us.”

Due to a labor dispute between the hospital and union, for almost a year (July 2013 to April 2014) the workers were not under any labor contract, and therefore were not under any agreement that specified what dues workers owed the union. Local 1199NW has claimed the employees still owe them dues during that period, which Schlittenhart notes would be roughly $3,000 for him alone.

“We realize the fight is not over yet,” Schlittenhart continued. “The next step is going to be getting this resolved with the National Labor Relations Board.”

Schlittenhart noted earlier that the union wanted to have him and his colleagues fired by next Thursday. At the time, the hospital was looking into the issue to see whether it should delay the termination until the conflict could be resolved. Now, it would appear it went as far as to cancel it all together.

Now the four employees have to wait until they are contacted by federal labor board officials. Schlittenhart notes he has no plans to contact the union until he is instructed on what to do after the feds get involved.

“We were told they were going to contact us,” he concluded. “We’re very hopeful it’s going to work out in our favor.”

The four hospital workers have been getting assistance from staff attorneys at the National Right to Work Foundation (NRTW), which Schlittenhart reached out to after finding the group on the internet.

Local 1199NW and the hospital did not respond to a request for comment from TheDCNF.

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