Eastern Maine Medical Center mechanics seek to join union

A group of facilities mechanics at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor is seeking to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

The union, an affiliate of the Maine AFL-CIO, filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board on Aug. 2 for a representation election. It is seeking to represent 26 skilled maintenance mechanics, but not registered nurses, physicians, professionals, technical employees or business office workers, according to the petition.

"We're looking forward to an election," Tim Suitter, a union spokesperson, told the Bangor Daily News.

In a statement shared with Becker's, Ali Worster, vice president of human resources and patient experience at Eastern Maine Medical Center, said: "EMMC is reviewing the materials received [Aug. 2] and respects employees' right to organize and will follow the appropriate process for an election."

Ms. Worster also said the facilities mechanics are valued team members, "essential for responsive and agile support of our patients and staff. While we respect the right to unionize, we prefer a direct relationship with our leaders and care teams."

The hospital said it will respond to the petition later in August. 

Generally, the National Labor Relations Board will conduct an election if at least 30 percent of workers sign a petition saying they want to unionize, according to the board website. If the parties cannot agree on how to hold the election, a hearing may take place to resolve the matter.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers has about 600,000 active and retired members nationwide. 

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