Nurses at Sanford Bemidji Clinic are now part of the Minnesota Nurses Association, after a five-month campaign to be part of the union.
The nurses knew the value of belonging to a union, and campaigned hard for representation. They wore “Union Now” stickers and marched a petition to management to show they were standing strong for union representation and a voice in the workplace.
Nurses at the Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, who are already MNA members, circulated petitions expressing their support of clinic nurses becoming part of their bargaining unit.
“We wanted a voice in our workplace,” said bargaining team member Emily Westover. “The hospital nurses were already part of MNA, and clinic nurses wanted the same voice and representation. It made sense to be part of the same union.”
Westover said the move guarantees that good patient care at the clinic will continue.
“We’re opening a new chapter and creating more opportunity,” said Westover. “I want future nurses to have what I didn’t have – and make it better for everyone else.”
“I am so excited for the whole group of clinic nurses who have come together to show our strength,” said bargaining team member Christine Sheikholeslami. “We are also very fortunate to have the hospital nurses being so supportive. As nurses, our first priority has always been the health and safety of our patients. Having the collective strength of the union keeps this goal in the forefront. We must also see that nurses are adequately compensated. We want to help make sure that people who make nursing their career, will continue to love what they do and want to stay in this field.”
The new bargaining unit has been accreted into the hospital nurses’ contract and will now negotiate a separate wages-and-hours package with Sanford. When the contract expires in 2017, the hospital and clinic nurses will all bargain together as one strong unit.