3rd group of Ascension nurses votes to unionize

Registered nurses at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph Hospital in Wichita, Kan., have voted to join the National Nurses Organizing Committee, an affiliate of National Nurses United. 

Sixty-two percent of voting nurses decided in favor of unionizing, according to a March 9 news release from NNOC/NNU. The secret ballot election took place on March 8. 

The vote marks the second time in four months that nurses at an Ascension hospital in Wichita have decided in favor of unionization. In November, nurses at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis voted to join NNOC/NNU. 

Nurses at Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas, also voted to unionize in September. All of the facilities are part of St. Louis-based Ascension.

The vote by nurses at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph covers more than 350 nurses.

Marvin Ruckle, RN, called the vote "a victory for our patients and the entire Wichita community."

"As nurses, we want to provide our patients with optimal care, and union membership will support us as we fight for the resources we need to do that, including a contract that ensures safer staffing, workplace violence prevention, and local nurse retention," Mr. Ruckle said in the union news release.

Ascension shared the following statement with Becker's: "We are disappointed our registered nurses at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph voted for union representation. We strongly believe we can be most effective working collaboratively without union representation. We respect the voting process and are committed to ensuring it is followed during the vote certification period."

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