Registered nurses unionize at Barrett Hospital in Dillon

DUNCAN ADAMS

Registered nurses at the small Barrett Hospital & HealthCare in Dillon cited prolonged staffing shortages at the critical access hospital and elsewhere in Montana as one consideration when they voted Friday to unionize.

The Montana Nurses Association announced Wednesday that 18 nurses voted for the union and 8 voted against.

The Barrett Hospital & HealthCare nurses who voted for the union also described wanting to have a voice “to improve nurse retention and recruitment strategies.”

Robin Haux, labor program director for the Montana Nurses Association, said the union anticipates final certification from the National Labor Relations Board within the week.

She said the union “will begin conversations with Barrett Hospital & HealthCare shortly after to discuss bargaining dates.”

Haux said RNs at Barrett have begun to lay the groundwork for negotiations.

“The goal of all nurse organizing is to reach the bargaining table and secure a collective bargaining agreement,” she said. “We are looking forward to collaborative negotiations.”

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Haux said the Montana Nurses Association has professional nurse unions at other similarly sized hospitals in Montana, including the Community Hospital of Anaconda, the Clark Fork Valley Hospital, the Glendive Medical Center

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