I’m writing in response to the current union building happening with our nurses at Maine Medical Center (“Maine Med hires anti-union firm to train, dissuade nurses,” Jan. 29).

We are in the middle of a pandemic, and we’ve seen countless examples of how crucial medical staff, especially nurses, are to our health and well-being as a community. And they are putting their work before themselves to keep all of us safe. They have the right to unionize. Not only is it good for the nurses, it’s good for all of us.

There have been studies that have found that a higher nurse-to-patient ratio results in better health outcomes. Hospitals have an increased nurse-to-patient ratio when a union is advocating for nurses. One study, “The effect of nurse-to-patient ratios on nurse-sensitive patient outcomes in acute specialist units: a systematic review and meta-analysis” (A. Driscoll et al.), found that higher staffing levels were associated with reduced mortality, reduced medication errors, reduced restraint use, and reduced infections along with a list of other health outcome benefits.

My husband is a nurse, and he has a union that represents him. And we chose where he works based on the fact that a union will have his back. We feel secure as a family, knowing that we have a group of people that will fight for him, which is even more critical as a minority in Maine.

A union provides workers a seat at the table when important decisions are being made. With a union, nurses advocate for better patient care; they also have the added benefits of job security, better working conditions, better compensation, and grievance processing. Everyone deserves a union, and our nurses need a union now. I’m backing MMC nurses in their pursuit to unionize, and I hope that my community will too.

 

Abigail St. Valle

Augusta

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