at LCMC Health’s University Medical Center voted to join National Nurses United, the largest U.S. union for registered nurses, after a three-day vote that ended Saturday night.
The union is Louisiana’s first among health care workers. It is also one of the largest in the state, with 598 qualified members.
More than 90% of qualified nurses voted in the election. Of those who voted, 82% voted in favor of the union, according to National Nurses United.
“The nurses at our hospital want a voice so we can speak for our patients and ourselves, and we want a seat at the table to be involved in shaping the future of our hospital,” said Dionne Jones, a registered nurse at UMC, in a written statement.
UMC officials recognized the union and said they “will continue to work with the National Labor Relations Board and act consistently with the processes established by the National Labor Relations Act.”
“As a hospital, our focus remains the same — to provide exceptional patient care that honors the Spirit of Love,” the hospital said in an emailed statement.
Next, the union is certified by the National Labor Relations Board. Negotiations and bargaining of a contract come after that.
Nurses affiliated with the University Medical Center indicated that safe working conditions and staff rations will be a priority for negotiated contracts.
“Nurses on units throughout the hospital support this union because of the difficult working conditions in our facility, our safety concerns about our workplace, and the unsafe staffing of our units,” he said. by Christine Faulkner, a registered nurse in the medical care unit.
The union includes full-time, part-time and per diem registered nurses, along with clinical nurses and nurse practitioners.
National Nurses United filed papers to unionize on behalf of UMC nurses in October.
Nurses unions in Illinois recently moved to push for legislation that would set limits on nurse-to-patient ratios. In Texas and Kansas, registered nurses participated in a strike last week to protest unsafe nursing conditions. About 1,700 nurses in New Jersey recently ended a four-month strike protesting staffing ratios, insurance benefits and sick time.