Another nurses group forms for change as negotiations continue at Logan Health

KALISPELL, Mont. - Negotiations are on the table between the nurses' union and hospital administration. However, a separate group's formed and is looking to end the nurses' relationship with its current union, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.

The group, formed on Facebook, is called Nurses and Community Unite. As of now, the Facebook group has 101 members. On June 1, they filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to get a vote to no longer be represented by the union. Seven days later, on June 8 the petition was withdrawn.

The nurses union at Logan Health is considered a 'closed shop.' While the union negotiates and bargains on behalf of all nurses and all nurses are required to pay some fees, not all nurses are required to be members and pay membership dues. The Nurses and Community Unite group is seeking another vote on whether or not the nurses would like to be represented by this union.

Julie Johnson's a member of the Nurses and Community Unite group. She said she doesn't want to have to pay fees to an organization that doesn't reflect her values. 

She's worked at Logan Health for 28 years. She shared she'd rather negotiate directly with management than through a union. 

"We have an opportunity to make Logan Health a shining example of being able to do that if nurses take a step back and shake hands with management across the table and look at each other straight in the face and work together as one unit, one family, one team to solve our nursing issues," Johnson said. 

While dozens were on the picket lines for last week's strike, Johnson decided to continue to work. She pulled 12-plus hour days but said the hospital environment was positive and upbeat. 

Wake Up Montana has reached out to Logan Health administration and the nurses' union for an update on negotiations and next steps. As of June 9, further details have not been provided. 

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