LAMC nurses unionize

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By Carol A. Clark

Nurses at Los Alamos Medical Center have voted to unionize. “We’ve won the right to be a part of District 1199NM of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees,” said Beth Spiers, RN BSN, one of the union organizers. “Our goal is quality patient care and improved nurse benefits and retention.”Spiers has practiced nursing for four years and said she moved to Los Alamos a year ago from Atlanta after being recruited by LAMC hiring agents.“We organized in about the middle of last year,” Spiers said. “We started gathering signatures and had our vote on Nov. 13 and 16.”LAMC had some 50 nurses on staff at the time the vote took place, Spiers said, adding that the vote was about 27-to-20 in favor of  unionizing, with three abstentions.Commenting on the election results, LAMC Chief Executive Officer Sandra Podley said in a statement, “While we are disappointed that our RNs selected an outside third-party to represent them, the hospital respects their right to do so and will be sitting down soon to begin negotiations for a union contract for the nurses.”The hospital focuses on improving quality every day, Podley said, adding that toward that effort, she and her staff have worked hard to establish one of the best nurse/patient ratios in the region.

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