Challenge process follows union vote at Munson Medical Center

Otsego Memorial Hospital in Gaylord could soon have even stronger ties to Munson Healthcare.

The voting process regarding whether or not to form a union for nurses at Munson Medical Center may be over, but a final decision on the overall outcome is just getting started.

More than 1,000 nurses took part in the decision.

"To have over 1,000 nurses let their voices be heard was a really important part of this process," said Munson Medical Center President, Al Pilong.

489 nurses voted in favor of forming a union, while 439 said no.

But 81 more votes are still being challenged by the Michigan Nurses Association, Munson Medical Center, and the National Labor Relations Board.

"The vast majority of those votes were challenged by the NLRB and so there's a process that they have that we will work together with them and the MNA to determine the ultimate outcome of those votes," said Pilong.

The NLRB will be scheduling a hearing that will help the parties to determine whether or not those 81 ballots are eligible.

It's a process that could end up changing the results as they stand now.

We're told that process could take anywhere from a week to six months.

Munson says no matter the outcome, they'll continue to stay focused on their patients.

"We are committed to patients first and foremost and that's one thing I know everyone in this organization is very proud of," Pilong said.

But if the outcome does favor a union, does every nurse have to join?

Labor attorney, Allen Anderson says no.

"At this point with the right to work act in place, and Michigan I think is one of 24 states that is right to work now, under those circumstances an employee is not required or cannot be compelled to join a union to keep or get that job," Anderson said.

But he says everyone will still be represented through any negotiations the union is involved in.

"The union is still the exclusive bargaining agent for that appropriate union," Anderson says.

If a non union nurse has an issue with something but requests help from the union, Anderson says under current NLRB rules, the union does have a duty to fairly represent all employees.

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