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Kalispell Regional Healthcare Disputes Allegations Of Worker Rights Violations

Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Courtesy Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

Kalispell Regional Healthcare says the Montana Nurses Association released “blatantly false information” when it announced Wednesday it was filing charges against Kalispell Regional for allegedly violating federal worker rights laws.

In a statement, Kalispell Regional says it has not laid off more than 100 charge nurses as charged by the Association, but is instead in the process of redesigning its leadership structure.

Kalispell Regional adds it’s currently posting more than 100 open positions for registered nurses and that charge nurses affected by the leadership redesign will have the opportunity to be selected for one of those positions.

The Montana Nurses Association filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board Wednesday, alleging that Kalispell Regional interfered with employee rights to form a nurses union, in breach of the National Labor Relations Act.

Kalispell Regional says it respects its employees’ rights to support or oppose representation from an outside labor union and that its leadership redesign is designed to improve patient care and provide more direct support to staff in all shifts. A representative did not return calls for comment.

Two of Montana’s largest unions expressed support for the Association’s charges Friday. The Montana Federation of Public Employees and The Montana AFL-CIO both condemned what they call Kalispell Regional’s anti-union tactics.

“Nurses are the backbone of any hospital,” Eric Feaver, president of the Montana Federation of Public Employees, said in a statement. “It’s shameful that Kalispell Regional Healthcare is putting profits and union animus ahead of quality people care. Every employee deserves a voice in the workplace, especially when that work includes caring for and saving lives. Kalispell Regional Healthcare’s anti-union action is shameful.”

“The top priority for any hospital or healthcare provider should be patient safety, not profits,” said Al Ekblad, Executive Secretary of the Montana AFL-CIO. “Unfortunately, Kalispell Regional Healthcare appears to be more focused on silencing nurses than ensuring the best care possible. We stand with the Montana Nurses Association and condemn the intimidation of hardworking healthcare professionals.”

Nicky is MTPR's Flathead-area reporter.
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