A large majority of registered nurses at Coulee Medical Center have signed cards asking to be represented by a union, an organizer said Tuesday night.
Austin DePaolo, of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local 1439, said more than 70 percent of the nurses at the hospital had signed cards seeking representation.
DePaolo said he couldn’t say the exact number of RNs that would be in the bargaining unit, but he suspected it was about 30.
DePaolo said both hospital administration and the state Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) had been notified Tuesday that the nurses want union representation.
“The main reason is they want to be recognized as a voice for patient care,” DePaolo said. “They want to partner with the hospital to be able to provide the best care for the community there.”
DePaolo said an election must be held by PERC only if between 30 and 70 percent of a potential bargaining unit signs the petition cards. If more than 70 percent sign, the employer is required to begin bargaining with the union after PERC validates the signatures, he said.
That could take weeks, and the hospital can appeal.
The PERC website currently lists 17 pending representation cases, the earliest of which was filed on March 15, 2013.