Montana Public Radio

Kalispell Nurses To Vote On Unionization

Jul 9, 2019

More than 500 nurses working for Kalispell Regional Healthcare will vote this week on whether to unionize. The vote will bring disagreement over staffing ratios to a head.

CEO Craig Lambrecht laid out the hospital’s position in a recent online video.

“We do not believe, I personally do not believe that union representation is right for any employees of KRH, our health care system or for our communities. Exporting relationships jeopardizes the intimacy of health care and our mission focus.”

Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Credit Courtesy Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

Sarah Johnson is a registered nurse and one of the organizing members of the union effort. She feels confident about the vote, saying more than 75 percent of the hospital’s nurses signed the petition to join the local Service Employees International Union branch.

“Having a contract means that certain changes to our benefits and staffing ratios can’t be made without our say, which helps to guarantee the stability of our career path. You know, our doctors and our CEOs have contracts and we want that same security as well.”

Nurses working in Kalispell, Libby and Eureka will cast their votes Thursday and Friday. Results are expected early Friday evening.