Nurses Contract Includes Facebook Use Policy

SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY —A contract settlement between an AFT nurses union local and two hospitals in Southern New Jersey may demonstrate how to solve other boss-union controversies over use of Facebook.


The Federation of Health Professionals and Allied Employees, the AFT local that represents 1,200 nurses at Southern Ocean Medical Center and the Jersey Shore Hospital, agreed with management to jointly work on a social media policy.


The dispute erupted when Meridian Health said the nurses couldn’t post complaints over wages and particularly working conditions at it’s two facilities. Safe staffing was the key cause of the contract dispute.


Once the union read management’s Facebook it realized the dictate was so broad that it breaks labor law. The federation filed a formal unfair labor practices (labor law-breaking) complaint with the National Labor Relations Board’s regional office.


Union members also took their case to the public, explaining that management was trying to shut off their use of social media, violating their rights.


As for Facebook, “we were just using another medium to get our message out,” union Public Policy Director Bridget Devane told local media.


As part of the contract, the union withdrew its labor law-breaking charge and management promised to work with the union on a revised social media policy.


The National Labor Relations Board, in recent decisions, has been grappling with questions over how to treat social media as communications tools, and whether bosses can restrict workers’ use of those media off the job.


Source: PAI