Nurses Group Wants to Organize Union

Article excerpt

A nurses group is trying to organize 77 SSM Health System nurses in St. Louis with an upcoming vote Thursday.

Registered nurses at SSM's five rehabilitative facilities will vote on whether the Missouri Nurses Association can bargain on their behalf. The effort requires majority approval.

The facilities involved are at St. Mary's Health Center in Richmond Heights, St. Joseph's Health Center in St. Charles, DePaul Health Center in Bridgeton and free-standing facilities in Hazelwood and Wood River.

Earlier this year, the association tried but failed to unionize St. Mary's home health care nurses. The National Labor Relations Board ruled that the home health nurses are part of the entire hospital. The association now is trying to organize the whole hospital, a more difficult proposition.

Patient care and scheduling issues are prompting this vote, said Nancy Little, a nurse and association organizer at SSM Rehab at St. Mary's. She said nurses sometimes care for 12 patients each, adding that some like herself have hurt themselves rushing to care for them.

"It's a dangerous situation for patients, and it's a dangerous situation for nurses," said Little, 50. …