HCA nurses battle over unionization in North Carolina

Nurses at HCA Healthcare's Mission Health system in Asheville, N.C., have mixed views on unionization as voting gets underway on whether to join the National Nurses Organizing Committee, an affiliate of National Nurses United.

Ballots were sent to nurses Aug. 18, and National Labor Relations Board officials will count votes on Sept. 16 in the secret-ballot election.

Meanwhile, nurses are expressing their viewpoints. On Aug. 21, a group of nurses protested unionization outside Mission Hospital, Mission Health's flagship facility, according to TV station WLOS. The nurses reportedly expressed concerns that unionization would jeopardize patient safety and negatively affect the community. 

Union supporters argue hospital officials are not protecting nurses and patients from COVID-19, according to the Carolina Journal.

Union supporters and opponents also have different views in terms of whether unionization would give nurses more of a voice at the hospital. Union organizers reportedly argue it would, while union opponents argue it would not.

Mission Health, which was acquired by Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare in 2019, is a seven-hospital health system with more than 12,000 employees. Its service area covers 18 counties in North Carolina.

In a statement to Becker's Hospital Review, Nancy Lindell, a spokesperson for the health system, said Mission Hospital was not involved in organizing or coordinating the Aug. 21 protest event, but it does "highlight the frustration that many Mission nurses have with the unnecessary conflict and divisiveness that NNU has brought to our hospital." 

"We believe quality care is best served when our patient care team works collaboratively together," said Ms. Lindell. "We encourage all of our nurses to take part in the election, and we respect the rights of our nurses to determine for themselves whether or not they want union representation."

If the union wins the election, it anticipates representing about 1,600 Mission Health employees, according to Carolina Public Press.


More articles on human resources:
University of Illinois Health workers threaten Chicago strike
Healthcare workers to rally for PPE stockpile legislation
Tennessee hospital, union OK contracts with expanded COVID-19 leave, pay increase

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