SANTA ROSA -- Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital today announced it filed a challenge to a judge's recent ruling that sided with the National Union of Healthcare Workers in the long-standing labor dispute.

Administrative law judge William Schmidt on May 28 recommended that the National Labor Relations Board uphold the results of a December election in which NUHW was victorious over both rival Service Employees International Union--United Healthcare Workers West and employees who preferred no union to represent about 700 technical, service and maintenance employees.

The hospital, part of St. Joseph Health System, had until today to decide if it would file "exceptions" to the ruling. That filing triggers a labor board review of the hospital's objections. Such a review can take months.

The hospital maintains its initial objections and challenged ballots, alleging that electioneering and other behavior “unfairly impacted the election results,” according to the latest filing.

The finally tally in the December vote was 283 votes for NUHW, 263 votes for no union, and 13 votes for SEIU--UHWW.

Out of the 563 total votes, NUHW needed a 51 percent majority, or a minimum of 282 votes. The hospital challenged four ballots and said that the employees who voted for no union have urged the administration to challenge the results.

“Given the strong feelings on both sides of this issue, it is important to conclude the process and have the NLRB render a ruling,” said Debra Miller, vice president of human resources, in a letter that was distributed to employees and also provided to the Business Journal.

A spokesman from the NUHW said it was disappointed by the hospitals decision to file exceptions but is confident the labor board will uphold the May 28 decision. That ruling, if upheld, would certify the union as the collective-bargaining representative at the trauma center.

The NUHW spokesman claimed the hospital is prolonging the process. The union has seven days to file a response to the hospital's exceptions.