This article is published through the N.C. News Collaborative, a partnership of BH Media, Gannett and McClatchy newspapers in North Carolina that aims to better inform readers throughout the state.
On a clear morning in early March, nurses stood shoulder-to-shoulder in Asheville’s Pack Square Park and demanded a union.
The crowd of a hundred chanted and cheered, hoisting signs and displaying red “Vote Yes” buttons. Some wore the same scrubs from their shifts at Mission Hospital, the largest health care center in Western North Carolina.
On March 6, 1,600 registered nurses petitioned the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to form a union, a massive organizing push in the country’s second-least unionized state. Whether the crowd gathering two days later at Pack Square Park knew it or not, they were kickstarting one of the largest union campaigns in the country today.
While an election date remains unset, labor advocates and experts