Sunrise Hospital workers vote to unionize

Sunrise Hospital. (Lorraine Longhi)

By Lorraine Longhi

January 16, 2024

Workers at Sunrise Hospital–including pharmacists, social workers and physical therapists–voted 78% in favor of unionizing.

Professional healthcare workers at the largest hospital in Las Vegas voted last week to unionize, the latest in a surge of labor organizing  across the valley in recent months.

Workers at Sunrise Hospital–including pharmacists, laboratory medical technologists, social workers, physical therapists, and speech language pathologists–voted 78% in favor of unionizing. 

The 275 healthcare professionals will now be represented by Service Employees International Union Local 1107, the state’s largest healthcare and public service union.

“I’m a helper at heart and I absolutely love my job,” Genie Patrick, a social worker at Sunrise, said in a statement. “But when it came to helping ourselves as workers and making sure we’re heard, it was clear that our individual voices were not enough. That’s why we made the decision that backing each other up though forming a union was the only way forward.”

Sunrise employees will now fill out surveys to determine their top priorities heading into contract negotiations and elect coworkers to represent them during bargaining. In a statement following the vote, the union said it would advocate for better staffing, among other issues.

SEIU represents more than 20,000 workers across Nevada. In a statement, the union called the vote the largest successful union election at a Nevada hospital in recent history. 

“Sunrise professionals are at the forefront of a statewide and national movement of working people who are rising up and taking action,” SEIU Executive Director Sam Shaw and President Michelle Maese said in a joint statement. “We’re incredibly proud to welcome them to our union family. We’re deeply committed to continuing to unite workers, fight for high job standards, advocate for quality services and win unions for all.” 

The hospital system’s vote to unionize comes on the heels of recent contract wins by the Culinary Union, which represents hospitality workers on the Las Vegas Strip, and the Clark County teachers union.

Last month, Vice President Kamala Harris visited the valley last week to congratulate the Culinary Union on its recent wins, saying it had set a precedent for workers across the country.

  • Lorraine Longhi

    Lorraine Longhi is a reporter for The Nevadan and native of the southwest. A graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication, she spent eight years reporting in Arizona, including at The Arizona Republic and The Copper Courier, where she covered education, health care and state politics. She returned to Las Vegas, her hometown, last year as an education reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, where she was later promoted to assistant city editor

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