A huge win for the National Nurses Union and all those who undertake the herculean task of organizing the South!
It’s a new day at HCA’s Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, for registered nurses, for their patients, their community, and as a message to nurses and all workers across the South.
In the first private sector hospital union election win in North Carolina, the largest at any nonunion hospital in the South since 1975 – RNs at Mission voted this week by a stunning 70 percent to join the nation’s largest RN union to secure a powerful voice for improved care and workplace safety. For labor as a whole, it is also believed to be the largest union election win in the South in 12 years.
The nurses voted by 965 to 411 – a 70 percent landslide – to join the National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United, in a secret, mail-in ballot election conducted and counted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The vote count was completed early Thursday morning.
NNOC will now represent 1,800 RNs at Mission. Overall, NNU, the largest U.S. union of RNs, represents more than 155,000 RNs.
Along the way, the Mission RNs prevailed over a heavily funded anti-union campaign by the hospital owner, HCA, the largest hospital system in the United States, and arguably the most politically and economically influential giant in the hospital industry.
The nurses endured months of delay before the election was held in a state with the second lowest unionization rate in the country. They confronted a regulatory climate hostile to unions and workers’ rights passed down by corporate interests and the Trump administration. They also faced the added challenge of conducting a huge union organizing campaign in the midst of the most dangerous pandemic in a century.
Next is the challenge of actually getting a contract, but the large majority of victory is extremely promising that the hospital won’t be able to stall out of this.
If the union movement is ever going to recover in this nation, organizing the South is absolutely necessary. If anything it’s even more so than it was in 1950 because so many more jobs are there now than in the deindustrializing states of the old industrial union belt. This is a gigantic victory and we should cheer the NNU.