LARGO, Fla., Dec. 10, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Registered nurses at Oak Hill Hospital in Brooksville, Fla., along Florida's Gulf Coast north of Tampa, voted Thursday night to affiliate with the nation's largest union and professional association of RNs, concluding a remarkable year of growth for the 160,000-member National Nurses United.
With a vote of 142 to 69, 67 percent, in a secret ballot election held by the National Labor Relations Board, the National Nurses Organizing Committee-Florida, NNU's Florida affiliate, capped a breathtaking run of six election wins in three weeks at six Central Florida-area hospitals.
NNOC-Florida will represent 300 RNs at Oak Hill, boosting to more than 2,100 the number of newly organized RNs who the union will now represent in the state. Since mid-November, RNs at Largo Medical Center, in Largo, Fla., Fawcett Memorial Hospital in Port Charlotte, Community Hospital in New Port Richey, Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford, Fla. and Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee, Fla. have chosen to join NNOC-Florida/NNU.
Nurses voted for NNOC-Florida/NNU by a combined 74 percent in the six elections.
This year, more than 8,000 RNs in Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, Texas, and Washington, D.C. have joined NNU. Over 5,000 of those are in 13 hospitals in Florida, Missouri, Nevada, and Texas that are part of HCA, the largest hospital system in the U.S.
"What a remarkable achievement for Florida RNs and for NNU in our efforts to transform healthcare. This is a proud moment, and one that heralds tremendous promise for the future," said NNU Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro. She paid special tribute to "those courageous nurses who have dreamed for years about building a powerful, national movement of nurses."
"HCA RNs across the United States are coming together and speaking in one voice to improve working conditions for ourselves and all nurses," said Malinda Markowitz, a California HCA RN, a national NNU vice-president, and chair of the HCA Bargaining Council for NNOC/NNU.
"The nurses will have a true voice for patient care and the decisions that affect our patients," Markowitz said. "By feeling empowered and unified, we can work together to change the face of nursing and devote the time that our patients need."
"This has been one of the biggest years for RN organizing in history, and we believe it's the beginning of a wave of RN organizing to strengthen the voice of direct-care RNs during a period of crisis for healthcare in America," said NNU Organizing Director David Johnson.
"We won! Collective bargaining will pay off and we will now be able to get better care for our patients and for our hospital. Now the work really begins," said Oak Hill RN Dee-Ann Marsh.
"After 22 years, I feel vindicated," said Kim Scott, RN. "This is a victory for Oak Hill Hospital, its nurses, patients, and community."
National Nurses United is the nation's largest union and professional association of registered nurses with 160,000 members from coast to coast.
SOURCE National Nurses Organizing Committee-Florida