Frequently Asked Questions Employees may also get additional information from various Internet sites, including www.nlrb.gov. Common Questions About Unions Who created the Code of Conduct? The Code of Conduct was developed over the course of several months by a multidisciplinary team of individuals from across the Health System, including representatives from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, Human Resources, Theology & Ethics, and SJH Administration. Why was the Code of Conduct developed? Given the increased presence of union-organizing activities in the healthcare industry, we felt it was important to clarify our position on union representation and the manner in which we will conduct ourselves during any discussions about the union. The Code of Conduct is designed to do exactly that. When does the Code of Conduct apply? The Code of Conduct applies whenever management and employees engage in discussions relating to union representation. The Code of Conduct says that we prefer a direct working relationship with our employees. Why? We believe that having a direct working relationship with our employees ensures our opportunity to achieve our strategic goals of Sacred Encounters, Perfect Care, and Healthiest Communities. We value a flexible work environment where employees and managers can problem solve together in furtherance of our values and mission. Is St. Joseph Health Anti-union? Not at all. We have union-representation at several of our ministries, and have positive working relationships with these unions. We fully endorse our employees' rights to choose whether or not they want to be represented by a union. Our statement that we prefer a direct relationship with our employees reflects our belief on how our ministries can best achieve their goals and objectives. It is not in any way intended to suggest that we are somehow against unions. The Code of Conduct talks about following National Labor Relations Board guidelines. What is the NLRB? The NLRB is the federal agency that administers the National Labor Relations Act, the body of federal law which governs union organizing in the private sector, including the health care industry. The NLRB has been in existence for over 70 years. What are the NLRB guidelines referred to in the Code of Conduct? Throughout its long existence, the NLRB has developed various rules and guidelines to ensure that employees can make a free and fair choice about whether they wish to be represented by a labor union. These include guidelines to ensure that employees will not be subject to intimidation or coercion; guarantee that all sides will have an opportunity to have their views heard; grant both the union and the employer reasonable access to employees to present their positions; and ensure that employees can vote on union representation in a secret ballot election. The Code of Conduct says that we will be provided with factual information about union representation. Will information be shared with employees? Yes. We believe we have a moral obligation to provide factual information to our employees so they can make an informed decision on this important issue. Any factual information will be shared in a respectful and appropriate manner. Does the Code of Conduct affect what unions can do or say? The Code of Conduct was created to govern management's behavior during union related discussions. It does not apply to unions. Nevertheless, we expect that any union will conduct itself appropriately and respectfully. Does the Code of Conduct affect our enforcement of solicitation/distribution policies? No. Employees and outsiders will still be expected to comply with those policy guidelines, and managers will still be expected to enforce those guidelines uniformly and consistently. If we follow the law, why is the Code of Conduct necessary? The Code of Conduct insures that the law is applied in a manner consistent with our mission and values. As a Catholic healthcare ministry, we believe it is important to hold ourselves to the highest standards of behavior. In our Code of Conduct, we pledge to create an environment whereby employees can make informed choices following the National Labor Relations Board's guidelines. Where can employees get more information? We continue to provide information to our employees on what those guidelines are, and how those guidelines are applied in our situation.