It was almost unanimous.
Registered nurses at Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock chose this week to join the California Nurses Association. The vote held Wednesday was 284 for union membership and four against.
The union will represent about 400 nurses at the Turlock hospital, which was acquired by Tenet Healthcare Corp. in 2014. The same company owns Doctors Medical Center of Modesto and Doctors Hospital of Manteca.
A union press release said nurses at Emanuel want to see better patient care, as well as more competitive pay and better economic standards.
Never miss a local story.
“I live and work in the Turlock community and it’s important to me that we raise standards so we can recruit and retain nurses at Emanuel Medical Center,” said Chelsey Jerner, an emergency room nurse at Emanuel.
In a statement, the hospital said it “respects this decision made by our registered nurses, and will bargain in good faith with the CNA to reach a collective bargaining agreement.”
The nurses at Emanuel began what was one of the shortest-ever organizing campaigns in July, the union said.
“It was surprising how quickly they wanted to progress,” said Yvette Villasana, a postpartum nurse at Emanuel. “It is pretty overwhelming that only four people were not for it.”
About 100,000 registered nurses are members of the California Nurses Association, the largest contingent of the 150,000-member National Nurses United.
The nurses at the Turlock hospital will select a team to represent them in labor contract negotiations with hospital officials.
Thursday, a few hundred nurses and supporters protested outside Kaiser Modesto Medical Center in north Modesto claiming that Kaiser retaliates against nurses who raise concerns about patient safety.
Amy Glass, an intensive care nurse and Nurses Association board member, said she was placed on paid administrative leave Monday after raising patient care issues. She complained that Kaiser reduces costs by placing patients at the wrong level of care.
“What the public needs to understand is that, if nurses can’t speak up for patients then people will be harmed,” Glass said.
Corwin Harper, area manager for Kaiser in the Central Valley, said the rally was related to a private personnel matter. “Our policies strictly prohibit retaliation and we provide clear guidelines and training on this issue,” Harper said. “Our care is based solely on what is best for the patient. Decisions about patient care are made by our physicians.”
Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321, @KenCarlson16