Nurses To Decide Whether To Unionize - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Longview - 4/1/03

Nurses To Decide Whether To Unionize

Most nurses at Good Shepherd Medical Center agree that patient care is in question.

But what they disagree on is how patient care came into question in the first place and what the solution might be.

One group of nurses say a union should be brought in.

While others say no way.

A "yes" vote for the union would make Good Shepherd the first hospital in Texas with unionized nurses.

Two groups of nurses.

One says a union is needed to give them a voice.

"The nurses at Good Shepherd need to establish a voice with management. A guaranteed avenue that they can have their voice heard," says Tony Martin.

The other says they'd rather use their own voice.

"We are nursing professionals. We can make our own discussions and speak for ourselves. And not have third party representation," says Michelle Berlin.

Both realize there have been problems with working conditions at Good Sheperd.

"Our goals in organizing were to establish safe nursing/patient ratios, safe staffing. We had several floating issues where nurses were being sent to other floors in areas where they were not trained to work," says Martin.

Communication with management, both groups agree, was one of the biggest problems.

Nurses against the union say that's been fixed.

"It has changed. We have an open door policy now with Mr. Adair as well as with our nursing management," says Berlin.

"Management is all the sudden becoming very available to the nurses. To me that is just a show. We have given them years of chances. But unless we vote this union in it'll be over with. April 5th it'll be gone," says Denise Spencer.

And while the two groups remain divided on the ultimate solution they both agree on what nurses should do when it comes time to vote.

"Please exercise your right and power to vote. The outcome will effect all of us," says Berlin.

Nurses will be voting this Thursday and Friday.

Amy Tatum, reporting.

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