Dozens of nurses at UPHS-Bell win union election

Ishpeming, MI – With a unanimous vote of 51-0, nurses at U.P. Health System – Bell have voted to form a union with the Michigan Nurses Association.

The National Labor Relations Board counted the ballots from the mail-in election at their offices in Milwaukee on Tuesday. The results mean that the over 60 nurses at UPHS-Bell will now have a union.

“Now that we have formed a union, we will get to have a democratic say in our working conditions. The past few years have been difficult, but winning our union gives me hope,” said Callie Ruohomaki, RN. “We are ready to advocate to make improvements so that we can better recruit and retain nurses at our hospital.”

This is the fourth facility of healthcare workers in the Upper Peninsula that has voted to unionize with the Michigan Nurses Association since the start of the pandemic. Techs and ancillary staff at UPHS-Marquette, nurses at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital, and healthcare professionals at the Chippewa County Health Department have all previously voted to unionize with MNA. Unionized healthcare workers at each of these facilities have been able to win collectively bargained first contracts which improve wages, working conditions, and patient safety.

Nurses at UPHS-Bell first began to talk to each other about forming a union a few months ago. While a supermajority of RNs publicly committed to wanting to form a union before the election, today’s vote makes it official.

“I am just so proud of what we have accomplished together by forming a union,” said Samantha MacIntosh, RN. “We have seen the huge difference that being united as a union has made at other healthcare facilities across the UP. We’re excited to be able to make that kind of a difference here in Ishpeming as well.”

Unionized nurses at UPHS-Bell join the approximately 600 other nurses and healthcare professionals who are also members of the Michigan Nurses Association at UPHS-Marquette and UPHS-Portage.

Now that they have won a union, nurses at UPHS-Bell will soon be able to begin contract negotiations.

“We are proud to welcome the registered nurses at UPHS Bell to our union family,” said Stephanie DePetro, RN, Vice President of the Michigan Nurses Association, and president of the nurses’ local at UPHS-Marquette. “Duke LifePoint executives have quickly learned how resolved nurses and healthcare professionals can be when we’re advocating for our patients’ safety. We are ready to support nurses at UPHS-Bell in their fight for a fair contract.”

MNA now represents nurses at all three UPHS hospitals.

The Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) is the largest union of registered nurses and healthcare professionals in Michigan. MNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United and AFL-CIO.

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Contact: Dawn Kettinger; 517-721-9688

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