Munson Medical Center nurses will unionize after challenged ballots settled

Nurses at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, Mich., will join the Michigan Nurses Association.

Earlier this month, nurses voted 489 to 439 in favor of unionizing. However, an additional 81 ballots were challenged.

Hospital officials in a statement distributed to employees said they have since worked within the National Labor Relations Board's procedures "to determine how many additional votes under challenge would be counted."

Hospital officials said a review of the challenged ballots determined roughly 50 percent were ineligible, and counting the remaining challenged ballots would not have overturned the election.

Both sides ended up reaching a tentative agreement. Under this agreement, the union "has the right to represent MMC nurses in collective bargaining," officials said. Additionally they said, the union agreed "certain groups of nurses at MMC will not be included in the bargaining unit" and "not to petition for any other areas within Munson Healthcare until at least May 1, 2018."

"Although fewer than half of the eligible nurses voted for representation, the union won a slight majority of the ballots cast, and we respect the voting process. This was an extremely close election, and it's clear that our nurses are divided over the issue," officials added in the statement. "Munson Medical Center will now focus on closing the divide and bringing people together.."

James Walker, cardiothoracic registered nurse, said of the results, "It doesn't matter how you voted in the election. Our union is for all Munson nurses. We look forward to seeing all of our coworkers at our meetings as we set our priorities and prepare to negotiate."

Hospital officials note election results must still be certified by the NLRB, which it expects by next week. They said both sides will then begin the negotiating process.


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