The following is a press release from the Massachusetts Nurses Association submitted to SOURCE media.
MILFORD – The approximately 525 registered nurses of Milford Regional Medical Center (MRMC) have voted overwhelmingly to form a union and join the Massachusetts Nurses Association, empowering nurses to speak up together and secure lasting improvements that will benefit patients, nurses, and the community.
The National Labor Relations Board oversaw a mail-in election that took place from January 29 to February 19.
Vote counting on February 22 by NLRB officials was observed via Zoom by MRMC nurses and representatives of the hospital and nurses voted by a strong majority to join the MNA.
“This is the best day ever! For years, we have been trying to get hospital executives to listen to us and help us better care for our patients,” said Karen Kerr, RN on MRMC’s MP1 unit who has been caring for COVID patients. “When the pandemic hit, the importance of our work and the need to properly support nurses so we can keep our community safe became abundantly clear. Now that we have formed our union, we can help build a strong, safe, satisfied workforce and make positive change for our patients and our community.”
The Association is the largest union and professional organization of nurses and healthcare professionals in Massachusetts. It represents 23,000 members in healthcare facilities across the state, including nurses at 70 percent of the Commonwealth’s acute care hospitals.
The Association is led by a board of directors that is directly elected by its membership and consists of frontline nurses and other healthcare professionals.
Association president and practicing ICU nurse Katie Murphy congratulated the Milford nurses for their dedication to safe patient care and supporting each other.
“When nurses are organized in a union, patients benefit greatly, as does the entire community,” Murphy, a Framingham resident said. “Nurses at Milford Regional Medical Center now have an equal seat at the table with management to improve their working conditions, protect their nursing practice and address issues impacting patients under their care.”
MRMC nurses are planning to move quickly to negotiate their first contract with the hospital. They have already begun the process of gathering feedback from each other to develop contract proposals that will address the unique needs of MRMC nurses and patients.
MRMC nurses came together to improve conditions at the hospital and provide safe high-quality care when they filed with the NLRB to join the MNA in December.
Problems surrounding the hospital’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic made forming a union even more urgent.
Earlier this month, nurses held a rally as voting began and celebrated having a more powerful voice as they looked forward to sitting down as equals with hospital management and negotiating critical improvements.
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.