A group of nurses at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital petitioned the National Labor Relations Board this week to join the Massachusetts Nursing Association union.

Thirty-three ambulatory care nurses at the hospital filed the petition on Monday with the board, which oversees the unionizing process, and hope to have an union election. A spokesperson for the nursing association said the nurses want a stronger voice in the workplace. 

“They have a range of concerns and improvements they wanted to make in the workplace,” said Joe Markman with the nursing association. “Having a union gives them a seat at the table.” 

The ambulatory care nurses, who often care for patients with mild symptoms, are the only nursing group at the hospital that aren’t part of a union, and the nurses previously went to the hospital seeking voluntary recognition. 

Mr. Markman said the hospital did not agree to voluntarily recognize the union. 

In a statement to the Gazette, the hospital acknowledged employees’ right to go to the National Labor Relations Board. The hospital said it respects the important and democratic process that allows employee voices to be heard and weighed equally. 

“We will follow the NLRB election process in support of the federally protected right for employees to vote on whether to join a union,” the hospital wrote in the statement. “We continue to believe that we can achieve the best results for our patients and staff by working together in direct and respectful partnership and it’s critical that decisions made on behalf of any community be made freely, fairly, and in a manner that allows for the careful and thoughtful consideration of the facts.”

The National Labor Relations Board will now consider the petition and decide on if it meets the qualifications for an election and potentially a hearing. 

A nurse involved in the union effort told the Gazette the nurses want to be better heard and have the ability to negotiate together. 

“We have no representation to negotiate parity of fair wages, a contract governing our job responsibilities or benefit changes and no job security,” said a nurse who asked not to have their name printed. “We, 30-plus ambulatory RNs at MVH, are not in the union. We want to join our colleagues.”