National Nurses United

National Nurse magazine April-May-June 2021

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 3 of 23

4 N A T I O N A L N U R S E W W W . N A T I O N A L N U R S E S U N I T E D . O R G A P R I L | M AY | J U N E 2 0 2 1 MAINE T he maine med rns voted 1,001 to 750 in a mail-in ballot election counted by the National Labor Relations Board on April 29, to form their first-ever union. MSNA will now represent 2,000 RNs at Maine Med, the Scarborough Surgery Center, and the MMC Brighton Campus in Portland. "It's a new day for nurses and patients across Maine," said MSNA President Cokie Giles, RN. "I am thrilled for my colleagues at Maine Med and for their resolve to win a collective voice for their patients and their community." Giles, who is also a vice president of NNU and president of California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, called on Maine Med's admin- istration to "respect the democratic vote of the RNs, and begin working with them to negotiate its first collective bargaining agreement that would be in the best inter- ests of the hospital, the nurses, and the community." "This is a dream come true, to bring us the unified strength we need to improve patient care conditions and workplace standards at Maine Med," said Maine Med RN Jackie Fournier, who works in post-partum. NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN praised the RNs. "Your courage to stand up and speak out for your patients and com- munity in the face of the most serious threat to your own health and safety amid the worst global pandemic in a century has inspired nurses across the country. We could not be more impressed with your accomplishment." "We are proud to welcome Maine Med nurses to the NNU family," said NNU Presi- dent Jean Ross, RN. "Your votes, your voices today will be heard by nurses coast to coast. Like your NNU colleagues in recent months in North Carolina and North Dakota, you have sent an unmistakable signal that nurses can win for their patients, their fami- lies, and their colleagues anywhere." The Maine Med RNs cited growing con- cerns about inadequate staffing, mandatory scheduling that requires nurses to rotate between working days and nights that they say leads to burnout and fatigue, lack of meal and break relief, assignments to work in units for which they do not have clinical experience and proper orientation, and other workplace improvements and standards. Noting how the nurses lost another attempt to form a union two decades ago, float pool RN Julia Koger said that, since then, "we've fallen behind on staffing, work- ing conditions, and other benefits. This has only contributed to worsening retention. Nurses and patients at Maine Med deserve nothing less than that same right to bargain collectively." "MaineHealth has grown tremendously in recent years, but sometimes it feels like they've 'outgrown' bedside nurses' clinical judgement," said Maine Med ambulatory surgical unit RN CJ Morse. "With a union and a union contract, RNs will have a real voice and we can hold MaineHealth accountable to our perspective as patient advocates." Maine Med RNs also expressed thanks to Gov. Janet Mills, Maine Senate President Troy Jackson, Maine Rep. Michael Sylvester, the Maine State AFL-CIO, and many patients and community members for their words of encouragement during the campaign. "Your incredible support touched our hearts and encouraged us," said emergency department RN Michelle Burke. "It gave us hope for what we could achieve for our patients, ourselves, our col- leagues, and was a model for all nurses in Maine." In mid-March, Jackson sent a letter to hospital officials signed by more than 60 other state lawmakers, criticizing the aggressive harassment of the nurses by hos- pital managers and high-priced anti-union consultants from Florida. Under the banner "Friends of Maine Med Nurses," community supporters issued their own public letter in March, stating that RNs "are the constant at Maine Med. Nurses stand up for us and our loved ones…They put patients first, but too often they are not given the respect they deserve…The stronger our nurses feel, the better our health care will be." —Charles Idelson NEWS BRIEFS Union Victory in Maine! RNs at Maine's largest hospital vote to form first-ever union

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of National Nurses United - National Nurse magazine April-May-June 2021