KALISPELL, Mont. — Logan Health nurses in the Service Employees International Union gathered Monday evening to prepare for a three-day unfair labor strike starting Tuesday.
Nurses put together picket signs with slogans like “Protect Us, Respect Us, Pay Us” and “Be Fair to Those Who Care.”
SEIU nurses are scheduled to walk out of the hospital at 7 a.m. Tuesday. The strike will last through Friday morning.
Nurses say they’ve bargained with Logan Health management for over 19 months, also noting they do not have a first contract yet.
“They have worked against us. There’s been a lot of delay in our bargaining. It’s was just been difficult to get bargaining dates,” Logan Health registered nurse Susan Sweigart said.
Union nurses say they’re able to call an unfair labor strike because they claim they’ve faced retaliation and discrimination from management.
Logan Health denies violating any fair labor laws.
Nurses say when they gave management their 10-day strike notice, they told them that they are willing to bargain.
“We’re willing to bargain day or night into the hours in the morning if we have to, and we have not heard any response from them. So we had hoped that we could’ve had some sort of fair bargaining so that we did not have to have this strike,” Sweigart said.
Sweigart says they’re hoping management will meet them halfway at the bargaining table.
She says they have two bargaining days set in June.
Logan Heath says they have enough staff to step in and take care of patients during the strike.
Nurses and Community Unite sent the following press release Monday evening:
NACU announces that on June 1, 2021 the Registered Nurses (RN’s) at Logan Health (Logan) will be filing for a Decertification Election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to sever ties with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The SEIU has represented the RN’s for nearly two years in negotiating with Logan and have failed to produce a first contract. Shelly Olbert, RN a spokesperson on behalf of NACU states, “Not only has the SEIU failed to get a contract, they have created a hostile and divisive work environment.”
Through the pandemic many of the other departments at Logan have received hazard pay increases and other benefits that the RN’s were not included in due to the SEIU. “We love our Nurses and believe the SEIU has a political agenda that is not in their best interest” said Amy Regier, State Representative and RN at Logan.
In spite of the pandemic and being under investigation for misconduct in a strike vote the SEIU has taken the RN’s out on a three day strike. “The strike further amplifies that the SEIU is not interested in the RN’s and community” states Regier.
The NLRB has stringent requirements to file for a decertification election including a showing of interest of at least 30% of the RN’s to sign the petition. NACU filed with more than 40% and the numbers continue to grow. “We believe that the SEIU no longer has majority support and only through a NLRB election can we end this relationship.” Said Olbert. NACU is still encouraging RN’s to sign the electronic card as the NLRB processes our petition.