Maine Coast’s technical employees vote to unionize

ELLSWORTH — Dozens of employees at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital are set to become unionized following a vote last week.

Technical employees including radiology technologists, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and others voted by secret ballot to join the Maine State Nurses Association (MSNA). The union previously said the group of technical employees consists of about 60 workers.

The election was conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.

The specific vote tally was not reported, but MSNA said it was a “landslide” in favor of joining the union. In a news release, the union said employees voted to unionize because of concerns about “safe staffing, retirement security, adequate equipment and other patient and economic protections.”

“We joined MSNA so that we can provide the standard of care that our community deserves,” said Ellen Eaton, a medical laboratory technician, in a news release from MSNA.

Kelley Columber, director of communications for Maine Coast, said the hospital was “disappointed with the results of the election” because administrators “prefer to work with our employees directly.”

She said the hospital is “committed to supporting this group and all of our employees,” however. If and when the National Labor Relations Board certifies the result of the election, Columber said, “Maine Coast will satisfy its duty to bargain in good faith.”

On Wednesday morning Columber said the hospital had not yet heard whether the vote has been certified.

Assuming the vote is certified, the technical employees will join more than 100 other staffers at Maine Coast who are already represented by MSNA. Bruce Becque, a registered nurse who serves as the elected chief steward of union employees at Maine Coast, welcomed the technical employees as new members.

“We know that together we will have a stronger voice for our patients,” Becque said in the MSNA news release.

Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller worked at The Ellsworth American from 2012 to early 2018. He covered the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland.
Steve Fuller

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