Published Thursday, April 2, 2009 | 2:34 p.m.
Updated Thursday, April 2, 2009 | 4:01 p.m.
Nurses at St. Rose Dominican Hospitals' three campuses in Henderson and Las Vegas have voted to switch unions.
The registered nurses voted 409-135 to be represented by the California Nurses Association, dropping the Service International Employees Union Local 1107, Stephen Wamser, deputy regional attorney for the National Labor Relations Board, said. The result was expected, given the national agreement the SEIU and the California Nurses Association signed last month.
The vote affects 1,100 nurses at St. Rose Dominican's Siena, de Lima and San Martin campuses. It brings them into the same union as 10,500 other nurses who work for Catholic Healthcare West, the company that owns the St. Rose Dominican hospitals, California Nurses Association spokesman Chuck Idelson said.
"The nurses there have been interested for some time in being unified with their colleagues who work at 27 other hospitals that are part of the same system," Idelson said.
The vote came after the SEIU and California Nurses Association national leadership came to an agreement to end the acrimonious battles they had been waging at some hospitals for the right to represent nurses.
The California union has been trying for more than a year to represent the St. Rose nurses. It failed to win a clear majority in two elections last year, one in May, the other in December.
"A decision was made at the national level to cease fire, in effect," said Amber Lopez Lasater, spokeswoman for the SEIU Local 1107. With a new Democratic administration, she said, both unions saw the opportunity to increase overall union membership.
In the weeks before the vote, nurses who work at St. Rose received a letter from the SEIU saying it would no longer contest the election.
The SEIU will not file any objections to the election results, Lopez Lasater said.
After seven days, if no objections are filed, the election will be certified, Wamser said.
Once that occurs, the California Nurses Association will have one year to negotiate a contract with St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, Wamser said. If it fails to do so, another union could challenge its right to represent the nurses, he said.
The hospital will continue to abide by the contract it signed last year with the SEIU, which provided wage increases and stronger staffing protection, St. Rose Dominican Hospitals spokesman Andy North said.
The SEIU will continue to represent the hospitals' non-nursing staff, he added.
"We support our nurses and the decision they have made, as we have in the past," North said. "It's our full intention to work collaboratively with CNA to develop a contract that is fair and best serves the needs of both our nurses and our hospitals."