An election that will determine the fate of the newly formed nurses’ union at Maine Medical Center will be held next month.
A petition containing the signatures of more than 500 nurses, filed with the National Labor Relations Board, has set an election for August 17-18, according to a press release issued by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The petition was distributed by nurse MMC Davin Brooks and presented to the NLRB last month.
The Right to Work Foundation describes the election as a ‘decertification election’, while a spokesperson for the nurses’ union calls it a recertification election.
“Nurses at Maine Medical Center will soon be voting in an election that could send union officials from the Maine State Nurses Association (an affiliate of National Nurses United) leaving the hospital,” the right to work foundation said in A press release.
Jacob Comello, the foundation’s national spokesperson, said Brooks’ petition came as the foundation’s attorneys were helping healthcare workers who were trying to decertify unions in Michigan, Minnesota, New York and from Massachusetts.
Next month’s election will take place about a year after representatives of the MMC nurses’ union, which was formed in April 2021 by a vote of 1,001 to 750, began negotiating a new contract with management. hospital. Negotiations began on August 4, 2021.
Todd Ricker, the main union representative for the Maine State Nurses Association, which represents the nurses’ union, said the parties were close to reaching a new three-year agreement. If an agreement is reached, it would be the first between the management of MMC and its nurses.
But the August elections could upend those efforts.
“The vast majority of nurses at Maine Medical Center continue to support our union. We will win the next election to recertify our union,” said RN Emily Wilder, a member of the nurses’ bargaining team. “Soon after, we hope to complete the negotiation of our historic first collective agreement. We look forward to continuing to represent all of our nursing colleagues at Maine Medical Center. »
“The question in this election is whether nurses want to continue to use their collective voice to make things better at Maine Med, or hand over all decision-making power to management,” Ricker said. “The vast majority of nurses want to win this election, keep the union and continue to achieve real improvements for their patients and for themselves.
Ricker said he was confident the nurses would vote to keep the union. A petition that circulated last summer has been signed by about 1,200 nurses. Ricker said the petition demonstrates the union’s commitment to bargaining issues and the principles that nurses strongly support and cherish.
Mark Mix, president of the National Foundation for the Right to Work, released a statement on Thursday criticizing the nurses’ union.
“Maine Medical Center employees are more than reasonable in their desire to oust Maine State Nurses Association union officials, who came to power at the facility through a dodgy mail-in ballot and failed to producing a contract for over a year,” Mix said. . “No health care worker should be subject to the monopoly control of a union that they believe does not serve their interests.”
Ricker said it took nearly a year to negotiate a new contract because there were several issues to work out.
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