KALISPELL, Mt. – Nurses at Kalispell Regional Healthcare are organizing an effort to unionize, citing an array of grievances related to unfair wages, loss of benefits, unsafe work conditions, low morale and suboptimal patient environments.
The movement to unionize was spurred by news earlier this year of a lawsuit and a federal investigation into Kalispell for an allegedly illegal scheme of improper payments to medical staff. Nurses and other personnel at the facility have concerns about the cost cutting initiatives. Pay-raise ceilings have been lowered, at a time when KRH nurses’ wages were already among the lowest in the state. Wages for Nurses are not increased when they secure certifications, as is standard across the country.
The Montana Nurses Association are providing informational assistane but union organizing is being coordinated internally by the Kalispell nurses. With most of the staff wanting to be unionized, organizing nurses feel confident in reaching enough signatures, over 90 percent, for a succesful organizing effort. The nuses are already planning the next step – submiting the application to the National Labor Relations Board so a vote to unionize can move forward.