JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline)-Nurses who went on strike in 2004 at St. John's Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis, were entitled to receive unemployment benefits, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

In its decision, the state's highest court unanimously upheld a state Labor Department ruling that awarded the striking nurses benefits. A trial court found that the workers were entitled to unemployment benefits because they were striking over alleged unfair labor practices.

The nurses went on a month-long strike because they said the hospital's refusal to fire non-union nurses amounted to an unfair labor practice by violating the collective bargaining agreement -- a claim that was ultimately affirmed by the National Labor Relations Board.

Justice William Ray Price Jr., writing for the court, said state law allows for unemployment benefits to be paid to striking employees of an employer that has been found guilty of an unfair labor practice.

St. John's Mercy Medical Center was represented in the Supreme Court case by attorney Julie Bregande of The Lowenbaum Partnership LLC in St. Louis. The nurses were represented by attorneys Janine Martin and Richard Shinners of Hammond, Shinners, Turcotte, Larrew & Young PC in St. Louis.

The case is St. John's Mercy Health System v. Division of Employment Security, et al.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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