I have been a nurse at Maine Medical Center for 26 years. Today I received my union ballot from the National Labor Relations Board. For a number of reasons, I have voted no.

Firstly, I would never leave my patients to participate in a strike. Pro union colleagues tell me nurses’ unions rarely strike. Yet nurses are currently on strike in Worcester, Massachusetts and have recently gone on strike in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Secondly, I believe I am well compensated with pay and benefits, including years of market and merit increases, additional pay for advancing on the clinical ladder, and incentives for working additional hours. Furthermore, I do not wish for us, as nurses, to separate ourselves from our healthcare team.

Change in a large organization is a slow process. We will always be and should always be striving to improve. I very much value working directly with our clinical leaders and management. We now have a voice in the shared governance process and I have certainly exercised mine on many occasions.

Unions offer no easy or magic answers for our complex healthcare/nursing problems. The current stress and divisiveness in our work environment regarding the question of unionizing is unfortunate, but all voices have the right to be heard. Important issues have been raised in the process. Ultimately, we are all working for the common goal of providing the best patient care and this must always remain our primary goal.

I have not been convinced that a union would contribute to that goal.

Colleen Robinson, RN
North Yarmouth

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