Union tries to make end run around PMC

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
Union tries to make end run around PMC
LUMINARIA BAGS — After the sun began to set at the Relay for Life event the Luminaria bags were lit in honor of loved ones who had battled cancer. What an outpouring of support and quite a sight at that. Cook made a point to take her team members around to the bags that she had sold and tell them a little something about the people who purchased them. Photo courtesy of Ruth Cook
   At last week’s commission meeting, two union representatives from the Pondera Medical Center were on hand to address commission chairman Sandy Broesder and Joe Christiaens. Cyndi Johnson was present by use of speaker phone.
   The union representatives from the PMC were Judy Miller and Marilyn Copenhaver. Union representative Chris Laslovich was also on hand but did not speak.
   Miller told the commissioners that they have been in negotiations with the hospital since November; however, “The Pondera Medical Center Board is not negotiating in good faith.”
   Copenhaver pointed out that the workers in the hospital are essential to the PMC and that the facility is vital to the community. She also told the commissioners there is strong support of the employees and many want this to go through.
   Nevertheless, while not being specific, they feel like they are hitting a brick wall with the PMC board, and “We would like the commissioner’s help to make this work.”
   Broesder explained to the union representatives, “We, as commissioners, have no jurisdiction. We can look into the complaint, but they are a legal board. We can express our concerns, but legally we have no standing.”
   She went on to add that the only involvement the commission has with the board is to appoint members.
   The PMC board is not involved in the negotiations with the union.
   The hospital has engaged the services of attorney Dan Johns who has experience in working with unions on labor contracts.
   There has never been a union at the hospital and the local management has little if any experience in that field, while on the other hand, the union has sent three paid professionals to each session in order to pursue its interest(s).
   The PMC is digging out from a very bad, financially, last year where they missed their budget by close to one million dollars.