FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Nurses at Kalispell Regional Healthcare/Logan Health Authorize Three-Day Unfair Labor Practice Strike
Retaliation, refusal to bargain in good faith leaves little choice for 650 bedside nurses
KALISPELL—Nurses at Kalispell Regional Healthcare/Logan Health united in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a three-day unfair labor practice strike if KRH/Logan management continues to refuse to bargain in good faith.
“Management has said they take an enormous amount of pride in the nurses and the exceptional work we do serving all across the system. Yet, during bargaining, they disrespect us and dismiss our concerns. We’re not asking for donuts and empty words,” said SEIU Healthcare 1199NW bargaining team member Julie Anderson, RN. “We’re asking for safe staffing ratios, benefits that don’t charge single parents an extra $1,200 a year and wages that are comparable with other large Montana hospitals. We have given them so many chances to ‘do the right thing’ and bargain in good faith. The goal has always been to get a fair contract. We don’t want to strike, but we will if we have to!”
Over the last 18 months, nurses have been negotiating for a fair union contract that would recruit and retain the top-quality nurses Kalispell deserves and give nurses a voice in patient care. But every step of the way, KRH/Logan Health management has stalled at the bargaining table, refused to respond to the nurses’ contract proposals, and has tried to intimidate union nurses. All of these practices are illegal under federal labor law.
The parties are scheduled to meet for bargaining today, and nurses say they hope that Logan Health management will come to the table prepared to consider their proposals and bargain in good faith. While they maintain that they do not want to take time away from their patients, they will strike if that is what it takes to send a message to management that the unfair labor practices must stop. If a strike is called, the nurses will deliver the required 10-day notice to management, during which time they would continue to be available to bargain in the hope of reaching an agreement on a contract.
The SEIU Healthcare 1199NW nurses have received strong support from the community throughout their contract negotiations. Neighbors in Kalispell have posted yard signs and car signs backing the nurses, joined a car caravan in support, and stood with nurses on the line during their informational picket in February. Members of the public are invited to learn more about the nurses’ efforts and sign a petition to Logan Health management at https://kalispellnurses.org.
Since bargaining began in fall of 2019, Kalispell nurses have proposed staffing increases on all units; a nurse staffing committee so the voices of nurses can be heard in staffing decisions across the health system; and wages and benefits that will recruit and retain top-quality staff to care for the Flathead Valley community. While administrators at Logan Health say they do not have the resources to invest in frontline staff, they have put time and money into acquiring new facilities and launching an expensive rebranding initiative.
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.