UNM Hospital union files complaint over flu shots

Posted at: 11/07/2013 8:03 PM
Updated at: 11/07/2013 8:06 PM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

On Dec. 1, all UNM hospital employees will need the flu vaccine if they want to keep their jobs, and unless they get medical or religious clearance from getting the vaccine, they'll be shown the door.

But the hospital employees' union is trying to stop that from happening.

Bill Browne, a union representative, said they filed a "Prohibited Practice Charge" with UNM's labor board. That's basically a formal complaint against the hospital.

At UNM Hospital, the most important thing is safety. They say the mandatory shots were on doctors orders.

"It was actually the medical staff and physicians at UNM who have reviewed the evidence and determined that it was the absolute right thing to do for our patients," said Dr. David Pitcher, UNM's Chief Medical Officer.

Both sides agree that employees should get the flu vaccine. The union just wishes that they would've been part of the process.

"Let's work together. Our whole intent here is to work together and do the right thing," Browne said.

With time being of the essence, the union also filed an emergency motion to speak to the board as soon as possible. The union hopes to keep the status quo in place until a compromise can be reached before the December deadline.

The emergency hearing between the union and the board is set for next Tuesday, Nov. 12.