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Unionized nurses at NMMC petition to reinstate nurse they say was fired without just cause

Unionized nurses at Northern Maine Medical Center Wednesday tried to petition management to reinstate a nurse that they say was fired without just cause.

Tiffani Daigle was one of the organizers who helped 90 nurses at the hospital form a union through the Maine State Nurses Association in January. She said the day before her contract ended last month she was terminated from her job as a per diem emergency room nurse.

"I am heartbroken this happened. I am a die-hard supporter of my hospital. I love my job and my community. I love my coworkers. Even after all of this, at the end of the day they may sign my paycheck but I don't work for them. I work for my coworkers and community and I want nothing more to be back in my role and do what I love to do," Daigle said.

Emergency department nurse Ashley Plourde said Daigle a dedicated patient advocate and coworker, and deserves to be back on the job.

"Our petition has 600 signatures from nurses, hospital staff and community," Plourde said. "Today we are delivering that petition to demand Tiffani's reinstatement."

The nurses were rebuffed by administrators when they tried to present the petition signed by more than 600 staffers and residents Wednesday afternoon.

RN Brad Martinez said the group will not give up.

"If we can continue the message of supporting our nurses who are dedicated, willing and able and excellent at providing care to our small rural community, it's only going to benefit this county in the long run. It's important to have people stay around and support that," Martinez said.

The nurses said they wanted to form a union so they could work with management to address staffing shortages and the retention of local workers that would improve patient care and eliminate the need for travel nurses.

They do not yet have a union contract so a grievance cannot be filed on behalf of Daigle. The Maine State Nurses Association said it could file an unfair labor practice charge against the hospital, but those take time to resolve and given the current staffing shortage they want Daigle to be hired back.

A NMMC spokesman said that Daigle was working under contract and the contract expired.