Monday, September 20, 2021
47.0°F

Nurses reach union contract at Logan Health clinic in Cut Bank

by KIANNA GARDNER
Daily Inter Lake | July 15, 2021 12:00 AM

A union representing nurses at the Northern Rockies Medical Center, an acute-care hospital in Cut Bank recently acquired by Kalispell-based Logan Health, ratified a one-year contract Wednesday after successful collective bargaining negotiations.

Under the contract, nurses will see a "significant wage increase" considered more competitive in the current health-care market, the Montana Nurses Association Local 25 said in a news release. The union did not specify the amount of that increase or how it compares to the pay of other nurses in the Logan Health network.

The agreement also addresses staffing, continued labor management-professional conference committees, and nursing education, along with wages and benefits to attract and retain nurses.

"MNA and the professional nurses union, Local 25, believe collective bargaining is the strongest tool to protect patient care and patient safety, moreover, giving nurses a voice to speak out collectively and advocate on behalf of their patients and community," the union said.

The Montana Nurses Association said negotiations with the Northern Rockies Medical Center, which was purchased by Logan Health earlier this year, began with proposals that would "weaken" the union.

The union, for example, said nurses rejected a proposal to change contract language intended to "protect the collective nurses' strength and voice." Hospital management withdrew the proposal, allowing the parties to "move quickly towards an agreement." The union's news release didn't specify how long the negotiations lasted. The union described the process as "productive and collaborative."

The Montana Nurses Association has more than 3,000 members statewide. Representatives of the association and Logan Health did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the Northern Rockies Medical Center contract.

Logan Health is still locked in contract negotiations with nurses at the former Kalispell Regional Medical Center, who have spent well over a year calling for better wages, benefits and staffing improvements and mounted a three-day labor strike at the beginning of June. Their bargaining unit is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU.

Reporter Kianna Gardner may be reached at kgardner@dailyinterlake.com.