Dubuque, IA – Nurses at Finley Hospital in Dubuque voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to keep their union so they could continue to have a voice on the job, beating back management’s aggressive union-busting campaign.
“We came together to stand up for our patients and ourselves,” said Karen Schneider, RN, BSN, the leader of the bargaining unit. “Management did its best to convince nurses that that the union is some kind of outside third-party that comes between employees and management. That’s totally untrue. We are the union. All of us together.”
With a 44 percent margin of victory, the nurses, who are members of the Service Employees International Union, Local 199, prevailed in a decertification election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. “I couldn’t be any prouder of Karen, Vickie Middendorf, and Sandy Muchow. These nurse leaders worked tirelessly in the last month, talking to nurses throughout the hospital on different shifts to alert them to the incredible importance of having a say in what happens to them at work,” said Cathy Glasson, SEIU Local 199 president. “People know that the system is rigged against workers and in favor of the big corporations. The Finley nurses completely understand that the best protection they have for themselves, their families, and their patients is joining together in a union.”
The nurses had to wait more than eight years to send this clear message to management at Finley. The NLRB suspended the election while UnityPoint and Finley fought several Unfair Labor Practice charges that SEIU filed against the hospital back in 2006.
The question on Wednesday’s ballot was whether employees wanted SEIU to continue to represent them in collective bargaining. Well over two-thirds of the 321 people in the bargaining unit responded with a resounding “Yes.” Schneider added, “This win was a long time coming. It’s important to understand that we are not anti-hospital. The bottom line is we are pro-patient and pro-nurse and pro-patient.” SEIU, Local 199 is headquartered in North Liberty, IA and represents more than 5,000 workers across the state of Iowa.