Nurses at Oregon hospital seek union recognition

Nurses at Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital in Lincoln City, Ore., filed authorization cards with the National Labor Relations Board for a union recognition election, according to an Aug. 23 news release from the Oregon Nurses Association.

The filing means the National Labor Relations Board can conduct an election after certifying that more than 30 percent of nurses at the hospital signed cards saying they want to unionize. If a majority of nurses vote in favor of unionization, the workers would become members of the Oregon Nurses Association.

The union contends that joining the Oregon Nurses Association "will allow nurses to have a direct influence on how the hospital operates, how they treat their nurses, and how the best possible care can be delivered to patients."

In a statement shared with Becker's, Lesley Ogden, MD, CEO of Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital, said: "We value our nurses and appreciate the quality care they give to our patients, with professionalism, compassion and attention to safety. We received a letter from a group of these nurses requesting that we voluntarily recognize the formation of a nurses union at our hospital. However, the National Labor Relations Board has a process, which gives individual employees the right to [choose] whether to be represented by a union through a secret ballot election process. We think that is the best way to give voice to the wishes of all of our employees."

The Oregon Nurses Association expects the National Labor Relations Board to share more information with the union and hospital in the next two weeks. 

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