Benefis FNP: Patient Care Should Trump Union Constraints
Benefis, Great Falls Tribune

Benefis FNP: Patient Care Should Trump Union Constraints

On March 9, the Tribune reported that a majority of Benefis RNs signed interest cards to vote on whether or not to form a union. Since then, opposition to unionizing has grown.

Julia Fitzpatrick, FNP, has a good letter-to-the-editor in the Tribune today. It comes after a recent KRTV story detailing her efforts to prevent Benefis nurses from unionizing. Fitzpatrick has organized a “majority of advanced practice registered nurses at the hospital to sign a petition in opposition.”

How has the Montana Nurses Association union been working to drum up support for its efforts? According to Fitzpatrick, by bashing the very people it wishes to unionize. “The union has been insulting us at Benefis, saying that we provide poor and unsafe care. We know that that’s not true, and the union really has nothing to offer us,” Fitzpatrick told KRTV.

You can read her letter below, or at the Tribune online:

No union at Benefis 

The Tribune published an article regarding the Montana Nurses Association’s efforts to unionize Nurses and Advance Practice Registered Nurses at Benefis.

A union is not necessary at Benefis. As an APRN, my primary concern is for the safety and health of my patients. Throughout this organizing process, the MNA has repeatedly attacked the nurses at Benefis by claiming falsely that Benefis patients receive poor quality care.

I am deeply concerned a union will hurt patient care. We work in a complicated, rapidly evolving environment. It is imperative that we work quickly to solve emergencies and diagnose problems. There isn’t time during an emergency to worry about work rules, seniority, and the other types of encumbrances unions place on a workplace. [emphasis added]

Benefis nurses have little to gain from joining the MNA. The MNA is an ineffective policy advocate. For years, they have tried to pass legislation to prohibit assault on nurses and have been unable to do so.

Only the union will benefit if this passes. The dues charged by the union are excessive and will be close to $750 a year. Many of my colleagues are single moms and this would create an extreme hardship.

Finally, the union cannot promise to improve staffing ratios or increase the number of nurses at Benefis. In fact, the MNA has stood in the way of recruiting efforts across Montana by opposing nursing compacts in the last two legislative sessions.

Please support the nurses who are taking a stand against the union.

—Julia Fitzpatrick FNP 

Great Falls

March 18, 2017

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