FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 12, 2019
KALISPELL NURSES WIN UNION ELECTION
Majority of nurses register support for joining in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
In a vote of 372 to 199, the nurses of Kalispell Regional Medical Center, The HealthCenter, Brendan House and Kalispell Regional Health Clinics voted to unionize in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.
The vote was held at multiple KRH locations July 11 and 12 and was overseen by the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency governing union activity.
Nurses say they voted to join in union to have a voice in their future, a great ability to advocate for their patients’ safety and quality care, and an environment in which their contributions and insights are valued.
“As a nurse my top priority is providing the best possible care to my patients every single shift. With the current climate and changes at KRMC it’s been difficult to do that. We constantly work short staffed and struggle to retain skilled and seasoned nurses,” said Sarah Johnson, a registered nurse in the intensive care unit. “Having the nurses united in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW means we can make changes in our hospital that will ultimately create the hospital and environment we envision for our patients and community.”
Kalispell nurses filed their petition for union recognition with the NLRB on June 13. When Kalispell Regional Health management refused to recognize the union outright, nurses opted for the election process. Since delivering a copy of their petition to management, nurses continued to show their unity throughout the KRH system. Organizing committee members have met with their coworkers and gathered input about the changes Kalispell nurses want for their patients and their families.
“This is a new chapter for KRH,” said Katrina Rauthe, registered nurse at Rocky Mountain Heart and Lung. “As nurses we work collaboratively every day to solve problems, and being in union will make it possible for us to sit at the table with our new CEO to collaborate on offering the best healthcare we can.”
The next step for the newly ratified union is to elect a bargaining committee, which will survey union members about their priorities for their first collective contract negotiation.
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is a union of nurses and healthcare workers with over 30,000 caregivers throughout hospitals, clinics, mental health, skilled home health and hospice programs. SEIU Healthcare 1199NW’s mission is to advocate for quality care and good jobs for all.