Barton Health nurses vote to join California Nurses Association labor union | SierraSun.com

Barton Health nurses vote to join California Nurses Association labor union

Ryan Hoffman
rhoffman@tahoedailytribune.com

Nurses at Barton Health have voted to unionize, a move that will undoubtedly alter how one of the area’s largest employers interacts with some of its most vital employees.

Exact vote totals were not disclosed Wednesday night, but the vote was 87 percent in favor of unionizing, according to an official with the California Nurses Association (CNA) — the labor union that the nurses voted to join.

The wide margin of victory “shows the nurses of Barton Memorial Hospital are united in joining the California Nurses Association to provide the highest quality patient care and the best working conditions for nurses,” Jennifer Lemmon, assistant director of organizing at CNA, told the Tribune in an email Wednesday night.

Barton Health noted the outcome in a statement Wednesday, adding that it remains committed to providing high-quality care.

“The nurses from Barton Memorial Hospital and Lake Tahoe Surgery Center have voted in favor of union representation,” the statement read. “Barton Health respects the nurses’ decision and right to join a union. We remain committed to providing high-quality, compassionate care together.”

As the Tribune previously reported, Barton leadership, which opposed unionization, and CNA voiced diverging views on the reason for the vote.

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A similar election took place at Barton nearly 30 years ago. According to Elizabeth Stork, Barton’s human resources administrative director, more than 50 percent of nurses voted against unionizing at the time.

Barton employs 205 registered nurses who provide care in the health system and additional registered nurses in administrative roles, Stork previously told the Tribune. Approximately 75 percent of the registered nurses work at Barton Memorial Hospital or Lake Tahoe Surgery Center and were eligible to vote.

Voting was open during three different time periods — in the morning, afternoon and evening — Tuesday and Wednesday, according to a notice of election filing with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board. The vote was conducted by secret ballot.