A nurses union at Centerpoint Medical Center have filed a motion to allow the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election to determine if nurses want to keep the union.

A nurses union at Centerpoint Medical Center have filed a motion to allow the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election to determine if nurses want to keep the union.

The NLRB will move forward in conducting an election to decide whether to dissolve or keep Centerpoint Nurses United union.

Last November, a group of nurses who were upset at the union filed a petition that was signed by at least 30 percent of the nurses. The petition called for an election.

Since then, the union had blocked the election by filing allegations that hospital management had engaged in unfair labor practices that could influence the election, said Dan Hubbel, NLRB’s regional director.

But the union has the power to say whether the election can move regardless of the pending allegations, Hubbel said.

“This is a change in their approach to try to get the matter to an election,” Hubbel said.

NLRB, a federal agency, is discussing the details for the election with officials from the union and management. Both parties must agree to the details of the election. Hubbel said hashing out those details could take time, but the board is hopeful the sides will agree and there will be an election.

Some of the union’s allegations focus on changing nurses’ work hours and schedules without negotiating first and also increases in pay for on-call/standby work.

“We look forward to this election as an opportunity to send HCA (owner of Centerpoint) a message that we expect to be treated as the professionals that we are,” said Uriah Magill, a union RN at Centerpoint, in a statement.

Gene M. Hallinan, a spokeswoman at Centerpoint, said in a statement the hospital is glad that its nurses have their “voices heard.”

“We are pleased that the union has finally stopped blocking a vote that the majority of Centerpoint nurses have been clamoring for,” Hallinan said.

The Nurses for a Union-Free Centerpoint gathered signatures for the election.

Jerilyn McDermed, a Centerpoint RN and spokeswoman for the group, said the union’s decision not to block the election “is not, I feel, a very positive reflection” on the union.

“If they felt so strongly about their nurses and what their nurses want, they would realize that 30 percent of their nurses wanted a vote rather than continuing to block the election,” McDermed said.

For more than a year, the hospital and Centerpoint have been locked  in negotations to get a contract for union nurses. A major aspect of the contract calls for better working conditions for nurses who claim of a high nurse-to-patient ratio.

The union will have to get 50 percent plus one vote to stay a union at the hospital.

“The whole concept (of the election) is based upon majority support,” Hubbel said.

Laura Harrity, a nurse at Centerpoint who’s a union member, is confident the union will survive.

“We’re very tired of this dragging out and dragging out,” Harrity said. “You have to have an end point.”

But McDermed said the election will verify that nurses don’t want the union.