Hearing on unionization at HCA's Mission Health pushed to April 6

The National Labor Relations Board has rescheduled a hearing to April 6 to determine whether nurses at Asheville, N.C.-based Mission Health can vote to join a union, according to the health system.

Such an election would allow nurses to vote for or against joining the National Nurses Organizing Committee.

"RNs at Mission Health are seeking to form a union to have a collective voice to better advocate for the highest quality of care for their patients and the community," the union said in a statement to Becker's.

"The novel coronavirus pandemic, in addition to being a national emergency, is a reminder of why registered nurses at hospitals like Mission need a collective voice to advocate for themselves and their patients," according to the statement.

The union election push comes about a year after Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare acquired six-hospital Mission Health in February 2019. According to the Carolina Public Press, the organizing committee anticipates 1,600 employees could be unionized if they vote to join. 

In a prepared statement, Mission Health spokesperson Nancy Lindell, said it "appreciate[s] that the NLRB understands Mission Health's critical role in protecting the health of our Western North Carolina community."

Ms. Lindell said it's possible the hearing will be postponed again. In the meantime, Mission Health said it has labor relations specialists who will "meet with nurses on a voluntary basis and help them understand their legal rights under the National Labor Relations Act." 

"We consider this important to helping nurses make an informed decision regarding unionization," Ms. Lindell said. "In light of the current pandemic and the importance of social distancing, we are limiting these discussions to small groups."


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