Anti-union nurses withdraw petition to split with SEIU

·2 min read

Jun. 12—Logan Health nurses who sought to break ties with their union amid a contentious three-day labor strike have withdrawn their petition with the National Labor Relations Board.

The informal anti-union group calling itself Nurses and Community Unite sought to hold a vote to decertify its affiliation with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. During the walkout that started June 1, the group claimed more than 40% of Logan Health nurses had signed an electronic petition to hold the election, exceeding the 30% threshold required by the labor board.

But SEIU asked the board to check the petition against the hospital's payroll to ensure all the signatures came from members of the bargaining unit. The board found some of the petition signers were ineligible, though documents available on the board's website don't specify how many.

"The NLRB had said that we were short some votes," Sheila Stencel, a registered nurse who belongs to the anti-union group.

Stencel said she and other nurses decided to voluntarily withdraw their petition on Tuesday and "just keep getting more signatures so that we could try again at a later time."

In an email, SEIU spokeswoman Amy Clark said the union was "notified of the withdrawal prior to hearing the results of the payroll list comparison."

THE LOGAN Health nurses union, formed in July 2019, has been negotiating for a contract for the last year and a half, calling for increased staffing, reinstating a charge nurse on every unit, a nurse staffing committee, and improvements to wages and benefits.

Stencel's group echoes Logan Health's assertions that SEIU uses coercive tactics to garner nurses' support, and says union affiliation has actually caused nurses to miss out on pay raises. The group also includes Amy Regier, a registered nurse who recently finished her first session as a Republican state representative.

Also Tuesday, the union's bargaining team and hospital management sat for another round of contract negotiations. Clark said the parties "got to a tentative agreement on a few more minor issues, but no movement on staffing or wages/benefits and management called an end at 3 p.m."

A Logan Health spokesman didn't respond to an email seeking comment.

Assistant editor Chad Sokol may be reached at 406-758-4439 or csokol@dailyinterlake.com.

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