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Labor Relations Principles: Guiding Relationships with Employees and Unions

Providence has established principles and behavioral expectations for labor relations.

Labor Relations Principles:

1. Sustaining the Catholic health care ministry is of critical importance, as it is an essential ministry within the social Mission of the Church.

  • Catholic health care continues the healing ministry of Jesus Christ in protecting human life, promoting human dignity, providing care of the sick and poor, advocating on behalf of the poor and vulnerable and promoting the common good.
  • The complex and challenging environment of social change and increasing financial pressure threaten the future viability of the ministry.
  • All decisions made in this complex and challenging environment must sustain the Catholic health care ministry.

2. In its health care ministries, Providence Health & Services exists to provide healing care to our patients and strives to improve the health of our communities.

  • Every person who works within Providence has the responsibility to work together in a spirit of loving service to meet the health needs of the communities we serve.
  • As all employees work together with mutual respect and caring, Providence will be able to continue its healing work in the challenging health care world of today.

3. Achieving a just workplace is a mutual responsibility of all Providence people, including both managers and employees.

  • Providence recognizes and affirms the dignity of each person and understands that work itself is a purposeful way that individuals contribute to the common good.
  • We respect the dignity of each human person, and therefore strive together to create a just workplace. Every Providence employee has the right to a just workplace, and as an organization, Providence provides it and strives to maintain it.
  • Within a just workplace, employees have opportunities to give appropriate input concerning their work, raise concerns to help improve the quality of the work environment, develop both professionally and personally and receive just compensation that takes into account community practices.
4. Providence management and board respect employees’ right to be represented by a third party. Providence believes the work environment that serves the best interests of all stakeholders, including employees, can best be achieved through direct relationships and open dialogue.
  • We prefer a direct relationship with our employees; however, we respect the right of employees to be represented or not to be represented.
  • Employees should receive complete, truthful and balanced information from both the union and from Providence regarding what it means to be represented by a third party on the job.
  • The choice regarding union membership must be made in a safe environment, free from coercion or intimidation from either unions or Providence.
  • In full respect of the voice of every employee, the decision regarding representation by a union should be made by employees in a secret ballot election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board.
  • Until our employees have given Providence management the authority in a secret ballot election, Providence management will refrain from entering into any agreement with a union.

5. When Providence employees are represented by unions, the responsibility to work together to sustain the Catholic health care ministry is shared by both Providence employees and the union representing them.

  • Regardless of the outcome of any organizing effort or negotiation activity, both the union and Providence must treat one another justly, honestly and with mutual respect at all times.
  • Providence will strive to forge and maintain a collaborative and constructive relationship with those unions representing Providence employees.
  • Catholic social teachings call all employees and those who represent Providence employees to make positive contributions to the common good. Unions have a shared responsibility with management to promote the institution of health care as a fundamental social good.
  • Providence ministries are discrete organizations, and we hold people accountable at the local levels to achieve our operating commitments. When employees and unions engage in collective bargaining, the local constraints and market realities of the particular ministry must be taken into account.

Behavioral Expectations to Support Our Principles:

Providence will not waive employees’ rights to make a fully informed choice (to join or not join a union) under the protections afforded by the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) secret ballot election process.

  • We will strive to fulfill the Mission and core values of Providence Health & Services in all dealings with Providence employees.
  • We will seek to protect the trusted relationship between Providence, its employees, its patients and the community.
  • We will treat all those involved in the organizing process with respect, dignity and caring.
  • We will protect and respect the legal right of every employee to vote in a secret ballot election conducted by the NLRB.
  • We will talk with employees during potential organizing and make every effort to ensure that the information we provide is factual and accurate.
  • We will not condone the use of intimidation as a tactic, by anyone, during organizing.
  • We will encourage employees to get information about their decision from every source available to them, including Providence and the union.
  • We will not visit employees in their homes to discuss union or organizing activity.
  • We will permit access to our facilities according to our policies, on a nondiscriminatory basis.
  • We will not question or interrogate our employees about their position related to organizing.
  • We will respect that our employees make in an election.