CHI St. Alexius Health

Registered nurses at CHI St. Alexius Health have filed to hold a vote on unionization.

Nurses at CHI St. Alexius Health voted against representation by the Minnesota Nurses Association during two days of voting this week.

Angela Grosz, a registered nurse with St. Alexius, said more than 300 nurses voted and the results were very close, though the Minnesota Nurses Association would not release exact numbers.

“Nurses initiated the process because we wanted a seat at the table where decisions about patient care are made,” Grosz said in a statement. “Nurses believe coming together and speaking with one voice is the best way to advocate for our patients. Nurses are stronger than ever after this campaign and will continue the fight to make sure our patients receive the best care possible.”

Chettie Greer, another St. Alexius nurse, previously said she and her fellow nurses went into the profession wanting to help people at the bedside.

“It feels like we’re getting pulled more and more away from that,” she said of the setting since the hospital implemented cost-saving efforts.

St. Alexius is an affiliate of Catholic Health Initiatives. About 120 employees have been laid off from the Bismarck hospital over the course of the past year and a half.

Grosz called the vote a setback but said the process has brought the nurses at the hospital together. She thinks this will help them in continuing their fight for bettering patient care practices.

"This isn't the end of the road," she said.

“We believe that having the flexibility to work directly with each other, free of a third party, allows the staff at CHI St. Alexius Health to best serve our community and deliver the best possible care to our patients," Kurt Schley, CHI St. Alexius Health president, said in a statement about the vote. "We appreciate the opportunity to continue our direct working relationship with our registered nurses, and we look forward to working together as an organization to continue our faith-based mission as a quality health care provider for Bismarck.”

Grosz said whether conversations with management will take place or changes for the better of patient care will be made as a result of the nurses' efforts remains to be seen.

RNs previously voted in 2000 on whether or not to form a union in the right-to-work state.

Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com

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