Charges withdrawn by nurses association

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Nurses work in the new ER wing at Kalispell Regional Medical Center on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

Charges filed by the Montana Nurses Association on Dec. 5 against Kalispell Regional Healthcare alleging the hospital had violated federal rights after the hospital announced an “employee restructuring” have been withdrawn, according to hospital officials.

“After review of the facts, the matter was withdrawn by the MNA and the NLRB closed the investigation,” Mellody Sharpton with Kalispell Regional announced in an email Thursday evening.

In December, the Daily Inter Lake learned that Kalispell Regional nurses and directors had received a notification from hospital administrators that their positions had been eliminated and they would have the opportunity to reapply and interview for newly created positions.

The hospital had announced it was part of a the hospital’s restructuring that would include modified titles, roles and responsibilities of approximately 130 leaders within the organization. However, in a press release, the Montana Nurses Association indicated the hospital actually had intentions to lay off more than 100 charge nurses — registered nurses responsible for the management of a patient-care unit.

According to Sharpton, with the exception of five charge nurses who received severance pay, all other affected charge nurses secured new clinical nursing positions, many of whom received promotions.

No further details on the nature of the new clinical positions or the five nurses that departed were provided.

The Montana Nurses Association had alleged the hospital was in violation of the National Labor Relations Act by interfering with its employees rights to for a nurses union, said Vicky Byrd, executive director of the Montana Nurses Association.

She said over the past year, many Kalispell Regional nurses have been in contact with the association, expressing interest in forming a nurses union. The association is recognized as a leader and advocate for 17,000 registered nurses in Montana.

Reporter Kianna Gardner can be reached at 758-4439 or kgardner@dailyinterlake.com

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