CALUMET, Mich. (WJMN) — Nurses at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital voted Monday to form a union with the Michigan Nurses Association, an affiliate of National Nurses United.
The vote was won by an over 2-1 margin. The results will become official when certified within seven days, barring any further objections from the employer.
“We formed our union because we wanted to have a voice about what happens in our hospital,” said Geoff Bean, RN, a nurse at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital. “As the pandemic has continued to rage, we knew we needed come together as a union in order to keep our patients and ourselves safe.”
The election was held after a multiple-month delay when Aspirus executives appealed the case to the federal National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.
Additionally, there have been allegations of Aspirus executives attempting to illegally coerce nurses into voting against the union. The Milwaukee NLRB has been investigating these charges.
The votes were counted three days before the 107th anniversary of the Italian Hall Disaster in Calumet.
“We kept going despite the obstacles because we know how important it is to provide a safe and efficient environment for our patients,” said Diane Stites, RN. “Now, we can voice our concerns and find solutions together to provide excellent, quality care for our patients and have a safe work environment for ourselves.”
This is the fourth facility where nurses have voted to organize with the Michigan Nurses Association since the state went right-to-work in 2013. Aspirus Keweenaw is also the largest hospital in Michigan whose nurses have voted to unionize since the start of the pandemic.
“We are thrilled to welcome our fellow nurses as members of the Michigan Nurses Association,” said Kathy Lehman, RN, an MNA board member and nurse DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital. “We know that we are all strongest when we are united together.”
The final vote count was 35-17 in favor of forming a union.
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