St. Luke’s Hospital Nurses Make Their Case For A Union
Nurses at St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford are hoping to see a union election at the hospital before the end of the year.
A dozen nurses calling themselves "St. Luke's United" notified CEO Keith Hovan of their intent to unionize on Friday.
Debra Falk has worked in the emergency room at St. Luke's for 34 years. While attempts to unionize nurses have happened before, she believes nurses in all departments are together this time around.
Falk says nurses will seeking more money for what they do, but the key issue is staffing; getting more nurses on duty. "That's the foundation for providing good care. You don't want somebody to wait for pain medication or a bedpan," said Falk. "Sometimes patients just want to talk, and sometimes you can't do that if you are spread between too many patients."
Another issue says Falk is the retention of nurses at St. Luke's. "They come, they're trained and then they leave. If we have a better process that we would work out with management, we could retain those nurses and we could have a larger force of nurses who have experience," said Falk. "Down the road, the patients and community would benefit, all around."
The unionization effort is being overseen by the Northeast Nurses Association, which will petition the National Labor Relations Board to organize a secret ballot election at the hospital. So far, the hospital administration has not commented on the union bid by the nurses.