For Immediate Release:
Thursday, September 16, 2021
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Focused on Improving Patient Care, Nurses at Logan Health Secure First Union Contract
Backed by widespread community support, the unit of 650 nurses won an agreement that includes a voice in staffing decisions, better wages, and seniority recognition
KALISPELL, MT – 650 registered nurses at Logan Health voted to ratify their first union contract last night, an agreement that includes a stronger voice in staffing decisions, wages, and benefits that workers say will help recruit and retain staff during a nationwide nursing shortage.
Concerns around safe staffing ratios and the need to raise standards for patients and caregivers as well as financial concerns amid the increased cost of living in Kalispell, spurred these nurses to join together with their coworkers to unionize. Two years later, they’re celebrating their first contract.
“By joining together, as nurses, as healthcare workers, and as a hospital, we can create the changes we need to provide quality patient care,” said Joan Siderius, a registered nurse in the Women’s Clinics and member of the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW bargaining team. “We have the years of experience to make Logan Health great for our patients, and now we’re finally being heard. We’re stronger when we’re all united in one union — and we’re just getting started.”
The contract provides wage increases and a boost to benefits, which should help nurses, many of whom have been struggling to afford to live and raise their families in Kalispell. The contract will also address scheduling issues that have been leading to burnout, members say. Most importantly, they say the contract means better patient care in the Flathead Valley.
“This contract means that I can afford to give my kids the life I always imagined for them. I can afford to stay in our house, spend more time with my kids instead of working extra to make ends meet, and know that I have a voice in making my workplace safe,” said Sarah Shanklin-Johnson, registered nurse in the ICU and member of the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW bargaining team. “And I can stand taller knowing that I’m providing the quality of care our community needs.”
The ratification of this contract means:
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is made up of more than 32,000 healthcare workers, united to create good jobs and quality patient and client care. They are also part of the 2-million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the largest union of healthcare workers in the nation.
The nurses at Logan Health are setting a powerful example by joining forces with SEIU, the nation’s largest healthcare union with licensed practical nurses, pharmacists, technicians, professionals, therapists, mental health workers, certified nursing aides, housekeeping and dietary staff among its members. In Montana, this new standard could become the blueprint for more caregivers in other healthcare spaces like behavioral health offices, clinics, and rural critical access hospitals to gain a collective voice on the job.
About SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is a union of nurses and healthcare workers with over 32,000 caregivers throughout hospitals, clinics, mental health, skilled home health and hospice programs in Washington state and western Montana. SEIU Healthcare 1199NW’s mission is to advocate for quality care and good jobs for all.