Research Medical Center employees vote to kick out union; supporters say fight isn’t over

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Service Employees Union at Research Medical Center voted to decertify and remove the union as their exclusive representative.

The union represented patient care technicians, certified nursing assistants, food and nutrition services, environmental services, imaging technologists, and respiratory therapists, among others at Research Medical Center.

Employees who supported the decertification said they felt that the SEIU did not represent their best interests.

In the past they’ve protested and pushed for higher pay and better safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Other employees at the hospital voted to keep the SEIU. They argue HCA, which owns Research Medical Center, isn’t looking out for its employees.

“Instead of focusing on our needs and the needs of our patients, HCA has wasted precious time and resources trying to undermine and bust our union,” Ernesta Reese, Pharmacy employee at Research Medical Center, said. “They delayed contract negotiations for a year while we worked tirelessly in the midst of a global public health crisis and then forced workers to attend anti-union information meetings.”

Reese said she and other employees plan to filing objections to the vote, and claim that HCA “engaged in conduct making a free and fair election impossible.”

“Workers at Research know the power of our union,” Reese said. “When we unite and fight for what we deserve, we see big rewards. Currently, every worker at HCA hospitals in Kansas City now earns a base pay of $15 an hour because of the hard work of SEIU Healthcare union members and our tireless fight.”

The National Labor Relations Board announced the election outcome on June 14 and plans to remove the SEIU as Research Medical Center employees’ representative in the coming days.

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