Nurses across the Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) system overwhelmingly voted to unionize last week. The newly formed union will represent more than 500 nurses working in KRH facilities.
After about a year of organizing, about 65 percent of Kalispell Regional Healthcare nurses voted in favor of unionizing on Thursday and Friday.
“Our real goal for all of this is to have a contract at the end of the day," says Cynthia Hinzman, an RN at Kalispell Regional Hospital and one of the organizers of the union effort. "So, we know it’s going to take quite a while for this, especially since this is our first contract, but we’re excited to finally have a seat at the table.”
KRH CEO Craig Lambrecht was unavailable for comment Monday. In a press release, he said in part that he was disappointed in the results, but said the hospital would, “move forward with a union presence.”
KRH nurses still need to hold an election to form a collective bargaining team. It’s unclear when negotiations between the union and hospital administrators will begin.