(St. Paul, MN – Feb. 14, 2014) 32 registered nurses at Abbott Northwestern Westhealth Emergency Department and Urgent Care on Thursday overwhelmingly voted for a voice at work through contract representation by the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA). In a secret ballot election, conducted by the National Labor Relations Board, nurses voted by 92% to join MNA.
Many of the nurses at the new stand-alone emergency/urgent care unit located in the Twin Cities suburb of Plymouth have worked at other MNA contract facilities and were eager for the same opportunity to have a voice in their workplace to be able to advocate for themselves and their patients. “Not only do patients deserve the same quality of nursing care and skill that Abbott Northwestern offers, it is equally important that we as nurses are treated the same,” said nurse activist Missy Lu.
The facility opened in December 2012 and within eleven months, its nurses contacted MNA to initiate an organizing campaign. With strong leadership and a knowledgeable nurse group, organizing swiftly moved to filing a Petition for Representation Election with the National Labor Relations Board on Jan. 24. The successful vote culminated a determined effort by nurses, some of whom had never enjoyed the benefits of a contract. “We are united as one with our fellow ANW nurses and will stand strong together for equality,” said Lu.
MNA President Linda Hamilton, RN, heartily welcomed the Abbott Northwestern-Westhealth nurses to MNA. “We are all stronger and patients benefit because our voice continues to grow,” said Hamilton.
The move signals that union representation in Minnesota is evolving in pace with dynamic changes in health care delivery. “Wherever people need nursing care, nurses need the protection of a contract so we can advocate for them to our best ability,” said Jean Ross, RN and Co-President of National Nurses United.
Nurses are planning meetings next week to talk about the next steps in securing a voice in their workplace by obtaining their first contract.