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Watchdog Alleges Pattern of Labor Law Violations by St. Peter’s Union-Busting Consultant

September 27, 2023
Contact: Bob Funk | 406-461-6787

Watchdog Alleges Pattern of Labor Law Violations by St. Peter’s Union-Busting Consultant

(Helena, MT) —This week, St. Peter’s Health hired an anti-union “persuader” consultant, Niles Commer, to directly engage with nurses who are actively seeking to form a union. In light of this development, LaborLab has launched an investigation, leading to the filing of a formal complaint being filed with the U.S. Department of Labor under the Labor Management Relations and Disclosure Act (LMRDA).

The complaint specifically alleges repeated violations of the LMRDA by Niles Commer, who has demonstrated a history of non-compliance with labor laws, particularly those related to transparency and disclosure. The LMRDA is designed to ensure that workers are provided with the critical information they are entitled to, safeguarding their rights in the labor process.

Even since his engagement by St. Peter’s Health, Niles Commer is accused of violating disclosure rules by failing to file necessary reports with the U.S. Department of Labor. As a result, LaborLab has taken the step to formally file a complaint against Mr. Commer to address these alleged violations.

It is worth noting that, as a consequence of hiring Niles Commer, St. Peter’s Health now bears an obligation to disclose the expenditures related to their union-busting activities. This complaint underscores the importance of upholding workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain, emphasizing the need for prompt and decisive action to address these alleged violations.

“Niles Commer, the out-of-state union-buster hired by St. Peter’s, has an egregious history of disregarding transparency laws designed to protect workers,” said Bob Funk, LaborLab Executive Director. “Unfortunately, this is nothing new. Hospitals are some of the largest spenders on union-busting and their consultants, like Commer, often violate disclosure rules in an attempt to stay undetected and hidden in the shadows.”

RNs at St. Peters file for NLRB election


For Immediate Release: Media Advisory

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Contact:  Robin Haux, MNA Labor Program Director (robin@mtnurses.org / 406-431-5934)

                      Thai Nguyen, MNA Labor Organizer (thai@mtnurses.org / 406-465-4249)

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Registered Nurses at St. Peters Health Clinics, Helena, MT, file for NLRB election


On September 1, 2023, the Registered Nurses (RNs) at St. Peter’s Medical Group (Helena, MT), both the Broadway Clinic and the North Clinic, filed to hold an election to vote to join the current professional nurses’ union at St. Peter’s Health, the Montana Nurses Association (MNA) Local #13.

Since filing, executives at St. Peter’s Health started pursuing an anti-union campaign against these nurses, including hiring an out of state, anti-union consultant from Florida to prevent these 70 nurses from having a collective voice in their workplace. St. Peter’s Health recently cut personal leave benefits from all their employees claiming they needed to make cuts as “the current environment requires us to examine our investment more carefully and reduce certain expenses” (Wade Johnson, GACHE, Chief Executive Officer, St Peters Health; April 10, 2023).

A Registered Nurse who has worked at SPH for 12 years, Andrea Thies RN, BSN, OCN, CRNI, says “Joining our Local #13 professional nurses’ union provides us the ability to protect our benefits, working conditions, and gives us a collaborative voice in our workplace.  All nurses who work at St. Peter’s Hospital should have access to the same benefits and opportunities. Doing this will bring us closer to providing our patients with the Gold Standard care that they deserve. We are looking forward to future collaboration and negotiations with SPH administration on this mutual goal.”

“I am proud to be among the clinic nurses standing up for what’s right- having our collective voices heard, improving patient care, and getting fair wages and benefits. As we work on the front lines serving Helena and surrounding communities, we are asking for fair representation and a seat at the table. We look forward to our election knowing that this is a step towards a more just workplace for all of us” says Hannah Sieracki RN, CCRN, who has been with SPH for 3 ½ years and was one of our communities front-line Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Registered Nurses during COVID-19.

On September 19, 2023, the parties agreed to an election agreement and the following joint statement:

St. Peter’s Health and MNA have agreed that the singular issue of the election is whether the clinic RNs will be part of the “bargaining unit” MNA represents at St. Peter’s Regional Medical Center, thus determining if MNA will be their exclusive bargaining representative. There is no guarantee that any or all items in the current CBA will apply.  Instead, if MNA is selected as the bargaining representative the clinic RNs would then be provided the opportunity to negotiate.  Subjects of bargaining like wages, benefits, schedules, seniority will be negotiated independent of the existing acute RN contract.” 

St. Peters Health Clinic RNs understand they will need to bargain the effects of joining the Local #13 bargaining unit.

Their Armor-Globe election is scheduled for October 17, 2023.

The professional nurses of Local #13, and MNA, believe collective bargaining is the strongest tool to protect patient care and patient safety, moreover, giving nurses a voice to speak out collectively and advocate on behalf of themselves, their patients, and their community.

MNA is the recognized leader and advocate for the professional nurse in Montana, representing over 3,000 nurses.  MNA promotes professional nursing practice, standards, and education; represents professional nurses; and provides nursing leadership in promoting high quality healthcare.

St. Peters Health is a nonprofit health care system located in Helena, MT. Their services include a 99-bed acute care hospital, physician clinics, cancer treatment center, 24-hour behavioral health unit, urgent care clinics, home health and hospice care, dialysis center and ambulance services.  They provide services to an estimated 97,000 residents in a five-county area.

Barrett Hospital & HealthCare and MNA Local #16 settle first collective bargaining agreement

Montana Nurses Association (MNA) is pleased to announce that the first collective bargaining contract, between Barrett Hospital & HealthCare (BHH) in Dillon and MNA Local 16, a union of professional nurses, has been settled and ratified!  The nurses won their union election on April 15, 2022 and began contract negotiations shortly thereafter.  MNA shared the contract negotiations were collaborative, productive, and an overall positive experience.

BHH and MNA Local 16 nurses have agreed to a two-year contract and secured the nurses first wage scale and agreed to continue working together to benefit patient care, nurse recruitment and retention through their new labor/management councils (PCC-professional conference committee).  Both parties look forward to future with a continued focus on providing the best patient care for the communities they care for.

MNA is the recognized leader and advocate for the professional nurse in Montana, representing over 3,000 members.  MNA promotes professional nursing practice, standards, and education; represents professional nurses; and provides nursing leadership in promoting high quality healthcare.

Barrett Hospital and Healthcare is a local resource for high quality, personalized healthcare in the Beaverhead County community for over 100 years.