Some 111 nurses and nurse practitioners have formed the union Acadia Nurses United to fight for better patient care and benefits.
In this April 15, 2019, file photo, Northern Light Acadia Hospital is seen in Bangor. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

More than 100 nurses at a psychiatric hospital in Bangor announced Wednesday they would seek to join the country’s second-largest educators’ union.

Some 111 registered nurses and nurse practitioners at Northern Light Acadia Hospital announced they had organized as Acadia Nurses United with the American Federation of Teachers, and on Friday filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board.

The American Federation of Teachers, which boasts 1.7 million members across the U.S., also represents 200,000 nurses and other health care professionals as AFT Healthcare.

The Acadia nurses’ union effort comes a month after the Maine State Nurses Association, the union representing 2,000 nurses at Maine Medical Center in Portland, secured its first contract after 13 months of bargaining.

Members of Acadia Nurses United said they sought union recognition to negotiate for better care for their patients and to address hospital executives’ “failures to address safe staffing, recruitment and retention,” as well as a lack of communication and responsiveness to employees’ concerns.

“Together, we will empower one another to fulfill the extent of our licenses within each of our disciplines’ scope of practice,” the union’s mission statement read.

“We aim to take an active and affirmative role in developing policies and procedures that affect our patients, community, and all Acadia Hospital employees. We are determined to be treated with dignity and respect in an atmosphere that is based on fairness, collaboration, equality, and transparency.”

“We prefer a direct relationship with our employees and care teams, and will follow the appropriate process for an election,” hospital spokesperson Bob Potts said.

An election hearing is set for Nov. 10, according to the federal labor board.

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Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.