Nevada Nonunion Smear Campaign Uses Coffins, Threats

Dignity Health Medical Group hired a nonunion contractor to expand one of its hospitals in Clark County, Nevada.  International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local 357 officials responded with a smear tactic campaign.  Dignity has filed a lawsuit against the local’s officials.  Mike Heuer has the story in Courthouse News Online.

Kitchell Construction is a nonunion company and hired a nonunion contractor to handle the electrical work, Dignity says.

Beginning June 19, the IBEW placed a large banner on a corner in front of the hospital, stating: “DANGER 1 OUT OF 10 PEOPLE DIE AT THIS HOSPITAL,” according to the complaint. It says the banner included depictions of a coffin and two tombstones.

“The information on the banner was completely false” and was displayed at least a dozen times through Aug. 12 at a busy intersections, Dignity Health says.

It claims the union also distributed flyers that stated: “1 out of 10 people DIE at Siena Campus, Death [sic] among patients with serious treatable complications.”

At the bottom of the flyers is the phrase: “Brought to you by the IBEW Union Local 357 Information Department,” according to the lawsuit.

It claims the IBEW posted the banner “despite its knowledge of the falsehood of the statement.” When Dignity asked the union, through counsel, to cease and desist displaying the “knowingly false and defamatory” information, the IBEW repeated the false claim about 1 in 10 patients dying, the hospital says.

Dignity Health seeks punitive damages for business disparagement and tortious interference with prospective business relationships.

Officials for IBEW Local 357 did not return a call seeking comment.