Heath System nurses to vote on forming union


GREAT FALLS, Mont. - Nurses employed at Benefis Health System in Great Falls will vote on whether to form a union.

Vicky Byrd, executive director of the Montana Nurses Association, says a majority of nurses returned cards saying they were interested in holding such a vote.

Byrd says the election will take place between late March and mid-April.

Benefis employs 844 registered nurses and 58 advanced practice nurses.

Byrd says some nurses began talking with the union about 18 months ago after raising concerns about staffing levels and patient safety.

Benefis Vice President of Nursing Rayn Ginnaty says patient safety and care is the hospital's top priority and that staffing decisions are made based on national benchmarks.

Union dues are nearly $63 a month and members receive collective bargaining assistance, legal representation and continuing education.

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