Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders blew the cover on some big Western North Carolina news during a rally in Winston-Salem Thurs.
Sanders told attendees at his rally that North Carolina has the lowest rate of worker’s unions in the country.
He followed that statement announcing that 2,000 nurses who work for Mission Health are organizing a union.
“I applaud those courageous nurses, and I urge the Hospital Corporation of America that owns Mission Health to treat their nurses with respect and dignity, and stop union-busting in that hospital,” Sanders said.
Until this point, the effort has largely stayed underground, as nurses fear retaliation from their new employer, the private corporation that bought Mission Health last year.
Sanders says the nurses are organizing with the group National Nurses United. The Union didn't return BPR's request for comment.
Mission Health responded in an emailed statement:
"At Mission Health, we believe we can better accomplish our mission to care for and improve human life when we have direct open lines of communication with our colleagues. As part of HCA Healthcare, Mission Health is investing heavily to support nurses and their families in the areas of student loan repayment, tuition reimbursement, sign-on bonuses, scholarships and generous benefit packages. We believe a labor union comes between us and limits our ability to have trusting, collaborative relationships with our staff. We respect every colleague's right to make their own decision regarding joining a union; however, we do not believe unions benefit our facilities, our colleagues, and most importantly our patients. We are committed to the health and well-being of both our staff and the people we care for throughout Western North Carolina."