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CHI St. Alexius Medical Center, shown here in May, in Bismarck is the oldest hospital in North Dakota.

For the second time in nearly two years, nurses at CHI St. Alexius Health will vote on whether to unionize.

This week, nurses at the Bismarck hospital will again decide whether they would like to be represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association. Nurses tried to unionize in 2017, but that effort narrowly failed. Prior to that, they voted in 2000 on whether to form a union in the right-to-work state.

Some nurses in 2017 expressed concerns about operational changes they said were harming patient care, as well as recent rounds of layoffs and large workloads.

"While we respect the right of our nurses to participate in a democratic election, it is our hope that our nurses, like they did 18 months ago, will vote to preserve our direct working relationship, enabling us to enhance the ways we work together to serve our patients," Ellen Holt, the hospital's vice president of human resources, said in a statement.

Chris Bublitz, an organizer with the Minnesota Nurses Association, said in an email that a secret ballot vote will be conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com)

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Education and Health Reporter