The union that represents employees of Bath Iron Works announced its intent on Monday to also represent a group of facilities mechanics at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District Lodge 4 in Lisbon Falls filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to represent 26 skilled maintenance workers who work at the Bangor hospital, said Tim Suitter, a union spokesperson.
The union represents more than 5,000 machinists across Maine and New Hampshire, according to Andy O’Brien, the communications director for the Maine AFL-CIO, with which the Machinists are affiliated.
District Lodge 4 is the Machinists’ organizing arm for local units in Maine. That includes Local S6, which represents 4,300 workers at Bath Iron Works.
“We’re looking forward to an election,” Suitter said.
Northern Light’s vice president of human resources and patient experience, Ali Worster, said that the hospital network would respond to the petition later this month, and would respect employees’ rights to organize and “follow the appropriate process for an election.”
“These are valued members of our health care team, essential for responsive and agile support of our patients and staff,” Worster said. “While we respect the right to unionize, we prefer a direct relationship with our leaders and care teams.”
The Machinists do not represent any other workers at EMMC, though the Maine State Nurses Association represents some 900 nurses there.
The Machinists also represent drivers at Kennebec Valley Community Action Partners in Waterville, trade workers at the Woodland Pulp mill in Baileyville, millwrights at the Sappi North America paper mill in Skowhegan and the Maine Lobstering Union in Trenton.
The union drive would be the second at a Maine hospital in as many years, though not as large as the nurse unionization drive at Maine Medical Center in April 2021.
Some 57 percent of the Portland hospital’s 1,700 nurses voted then to unionize with the Maine State Nurses Association, which is affiliated with National Nurses United.