June 16, 2021
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI — (June 15, 2021) — Employees at Research Medical Center (RMC) represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) voted this week to oust the union as their exclusive representative. The SEIU votes at RMC, which is part of HCA Midwest Health, the region’s leading healthcare provider, includes patient care technicians, certified nursing assistants, food and nutrition services, environmental services, imaging technologists, and respiratory therapists, among others.
In late March, RMC employees represented by the SEIU initiated the decertification process that resulted in the vote. Between May 17 and June 14, Research Medical Center SEIU members had the opportunity to cast their mail-in ballots on whether they wanted to keep in place third-party representation by the SEIU.
Kelly Pirman, RT (R)(CT), an RMC imaging technologist, has been advocating since late March to dissolve the union when she filed a decertification petition, along with other colleagues. Together, Pirman and her colleagues persisted to have their voices heard after feeling that the SEIU failed to have their best interests at heart.
“I have worked at Research Medical Center for 10 years and love this hospital and all of my colleagues,” Pirman says. “The SEIU has not represented us fairly, nor provided us the value they claim. This process, which was our choice and our voice to remove the SEIU from Research Medical Center, started in March. Today, we can finally realize our efforts.”
“For years, promises the SEIU has made have not been kept, and they continue to take our hard-earned money with no value in return,” says Dena Tuttle, RCP, RRT, an RMC respiratory therapist. “This vote unifies our Research Medical Center family, so we are able to work directly with our leaders, without having a third party between us. Today, we put this chapter behind us, begin healing and create an even brighter future.”
Because Research Medical Center had a legal duty to negotiate with SEIU, wage increases for colleagues represented by SEIU often came later than for colleagues not represented by SEIU. It took SEIU and Research Medical Center nearly a year to conclude bargaining that began in early 2020. As a result, employees represented by SEIU did not receive their 2020 wage increases until 2021.
“I am so proud of our employees, who had the courage to lead this effort and have their voices heard,” says Research Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Ashley McClellan. “We are grateful that our Research Medical Center colleagues have chosen to remove SEIU and work directly with our leadership team for a better future together.”