Maine Medical Center. Credit: Seth Koenig / BDN

PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Medical Center has hired a consulting firm to provide mandatory training for registered nurses who have begun the process to form a union.

The firm, Reliant Labor Consultants, advertises services including “avoiding a union” and “fighting a union,” WMTW-TV reported Tuesday.

In a memo obtained by the broadcaster, a hospital administrator wrote that nurses would be required to step away from their work carrying for patients, delivering vaccines and conducting coronavirus tests to attend the training.

“This is the kind of divisiveness a union brings to the workplace,” Nursing Officer Devin Carr wrote.

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“As your employer, we are committed to respecting your rights by providing you with factual information about your legal rights. To do this, all MMC nurses will be required to attend training during which they will be educated on their individual rights to help them decide if they want a union to speak for them.”

Earlier this month, the National Nurses United and the Maine State Nurses Association applied to the National Labor Relations Board to be recognized as a union for registered nurses at the Portland hospital.

To form a union, a majority of the nurses will need to vote in favor of doing so, and that vote could come in the coming weeks, the broadcaster reported.

The president of the hospital has said that he opposes a union. A spokesperson for the hospital told the broadcaster, “MMC respects the right of our nurses under the law to decide on union representation.”