Local S6 leaders, shown here on strike last summer, issued a statement in support of Maine Medical Center nurses looking to unionize.  The Times Record / Kathleen O’Brien

BATH — Local S6, Bath Iron Works’ largest union, threw its support behind nurses at Maine Medical Center attempting to unionize but who have met opposition from the hospital.

“It’s time we blow the whistle on the anti-union corporations that hire lawyers and spend big $$ to intimidate their employees for trying to form a union,” Local S6 leaders wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday. “Machinist Local S6 stand with the nurses of Maine Medical Center in pursuit of their right to stand as one.”

Local S6 Spokesman Tim Suitter did not return requests for comment Thursday. Local S6 of the machinists union represents over 4,000 of BIW’s roughly 6,800 employees.

According to the Associated Press, the Portland-based hospital hired Reliant Labor Consultants to provide mandatory training for registered nurses who began the process of forming a union.

On its website, the consultant firm advertises it will help employers “avoid the many significant problems that arise when workgroups are organized.” The firm also lists “avoiding a union” and “fighting a union” among its services.

“We strongly believe a direct, collaborative relationship between employees and management is the best way for us to deliver safe, high-quality and compassionate care and to foster a positive, respectful work environment where employees speak for themselves on issues that are important to them,” hospital spokesperson Clay Holtzman wrote in a statement last month. “We recognize employees’ right to consider union representation. We work better together, however, without the involvement of an external organization that may not share our vision and mission.”

The Associated Press reported the National Nurses United and the Maine State Nurses Association applied to the National Labor Relations Board to be recognized as a union for registered nurses at Maine Medical Center last month. The nurses are expected to vote on whether to form the union in the coming weeks.


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