Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - A representative of the Montana Nurses Association confirmed to KGVO News that nurses at Providence St. Patrick Hospital and Community Medical Center are either currently in contract talks, or will begin those negotiations soon.

Robin Haus, Labor Program Director for the Montana Nurses Association told KGVO on Monday that the contract talks are currently underway at Providence St. Patrick Hospital here in Missoula.

Negotiations Underway with Nurses at St. Patrick Hospital

“Providence St. Patrick Hospital and the Montana Nurses Association local 17, the registered nurse unions have currently entered into contract negotiations,” began Haus. “They are in negotiations that started last week. They are working with a Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service facilitator and are utilizing a process called intentional bargaining, which is a collaborative way to negotiate, and they started with training last week and did bargain through Friday.”

Haus provided what little details were available about the bargaining currently underway since the current contract will expire at the end of February.

The Current Contract will Expire on February 29

“The goals of the nurses, and the unit has about 625 nurses, their contract will expire on February 29 of this year,” she said. “Their top priorities really are nurse retention. They want to keep their nurses local and keep them living in Missoula. Unfortunately, that's becoming more and more of a challenge with the cost of living and they are really focused on safe staffing standards so they can continue to provide high quality care to the Missoula community and surrounding communities.”

Haus said the nurses with Community Medical Center will also begin their contract negotiations soon.

Negotiations with Nurses at Community Medical Center will Begin Soon

“They are just in the process of beginning to prepare for their upcoming negotiations,” she said. “They are a Lifepoint facility that is based out of Tennessee. That was who purchased them and they haven't started negotiations, however their priorities are the same; and that is focusing on nurse retention and safe staffing standards. Their goal also is really to keep their nurses local in Missoula because they serve that community and surrounding communities as well.”

Haus said the recent COVID 19 pandemic was very stressful on all healthcare facilities, and the hospitals want to do everything possible to ensure safe working conditions and the pay that nursing professionals deserve.

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