Nurses vote to unionize at St. Peter's in Helena
Registered nurses at St. Peter’s health clinics in Helena voted to join a union Tuesday. The hospital’s hiring of a third-party labor consultant had stirred controversy during the organizing effort.
Shortly after the last round of voting ended at 7 p.m. Tuesday, the Montana Nurses Association reported nurses at two clinics outside St. Peter’s main hospital building achieved a “resounding victory” in their vote to join the Local #13 chapter of the nurses union. That chapter already represents nurses at the main building.
A spokesperson for St. Peter’s said the hospital respects the right of its nurses to be represented by a union and that it would work collaboratively to negotiate a contract.
The union effort became a flashpoint of controversy when a document containing sensitive personal information about nurses involved in the vote was leaked. That document had been created by a third-party “labor education consultant” hired by the hospital. The consultant was dismissed after the leak.
The Nurses Association will now work to bargain an agreement with the hospital. Gina Davis, president of the local chapter, said in a statement the nurses are ready to work collaboratively in negotiations, but that trust with hospital administration “will need to be rebuilt."