Kalispell nurses to vote on unionizing

Nurses for the Kalispell Regional Hospital have a big decision to make this week. Starting Thursday they are voting on whether or not to unionize.

Nurses at KRH have been talking about joining a union for over a year but not everyone on staff wants a union,  today over 100 nurses, doctors, and physicians posed for a picture to show their support for the current hospital administration.

“There are a lot of us who feel very strongly that we can work with our organization work with our brand new CEO with our new Chief Nursing Officer and that we can positively make changes without a third party” Ambulatory Care RN Katie Neff said.

On the other hand many nurses want that third party, because right now, they don’t feel like they have a place at the bargaining table.

“The biggest reason we are pushing for this is we want to be able to have a say on the types of things that will directly affect our patient care. We feel it is for the benefit of the community and for our patients in general” Neonatal ICU RN Karen Rupp said.

Nurses like Neff say since they just got a new CEO they should hold off on union discussions.

“Give them a chance, give them one year. Let’s see what we can do in one year then we can talk” Neff said.

But Rupp disagrees

“They have known about this effort for over a year, and the CEO is just one person, there is still the board behind him and they are a part of the decision making process.” Rupp said, “They have been aware of our efforts for over a year and I don’t think another year is going to make a bit of difference.”

After considering a few different options over the last year KRH nurses will be voting both Thursday and Friday on whether or not they want to join the Service Employee International Union.

Both sides hope all 650 nurses vote in the next two days. The results of the election should be in by Friday evening.

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