Nurses, clinicians at Mass General Brigham psychiatric hospital vote to unionize

Nurses, mental health specialists and other healthcare professionals at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., voted to join the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 93.

The union announced the votes in an April 22 news release. The votes cover about 700 workers at the psychiatric hospital, which is part of Boston-based Mass General Brigham.

These healthcare workers "have laid a solid foundation for improving patient care, creating a safer workplace, and building a brighter economic future for themselves and their families," Mark Bernard, executive director of AFSCME Council 93, said in the release. "We are delighted that the women and men who have made McLean a nationally-renowned hospital will now be represented by one of the oldest and most effective unions in the country."

The vote followed a contentious union campaign, in which employees and the union accused McLean of aggressively trying to stop employees from voting in favor of unionization, according to The Boston Globe.

Ultimately, registered nurses, nurse practitioners and clinical coordinators voted 113-100 in favor of joining AFSCME Council 93, and mental health specialists and community residence counselors did the same by a vote of 121-91, the newspaper reported. The election results must still be certified by the National Labor Relations Board. 

In a statement shared with Becker's, Scott Rauch, MD, president, psychiatrist in chief, and Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Chair of Psychiatry at McLean, said the hospital respects the decision of its workers in union elections and is "dedicated to supporting the professional growth and success of each member of our staff and to ensuring access to high-quality mental healthcare in a safe environment.

"As we look ahead, we are eager to continue our vital work together as one team to deliver on our collective mission to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness."

AFSCME Council 93 also represents about 145 research and lab assistants at McLean.

To read the full Globe report, click here

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