December 8, 2023

Nurses at IU Health’s University and Methodist hospitals eye unionizing

Nurses at IU Health’s University and Methodist hospitals are looking to unionize. - WBAA/Ben Thorp

Nurses at IU Health’s University and Methodist hospitals are looking to unionize.

WBAA/Ben Thorp

Nurses at IU Health’s University and Methodist hospitals say they are planning to unionize.

The Indianapolis healthcare workers cite poor staffing ratios, patient care, and wages as some of the driving reasons behind their efforts.

According to nurses, roughly 1,000 staff nurses are employed across the two hospitals.

Addie Armes is an ICU nurse at University Hospital and part of the organizing team. She said the hospital system has experienced lower staffing since the pandemic -- and there are no signs of it getting better.

“I think people are just kind of done with the care they have had to give the past couple of years and we want to make a better change for Indiana,” she said.

Armes said nurses are hoping to hold a vote on forming a unit sometime early next year. She said over 300 nurses are currently interested in unionizing.

Other IU Health hospitals would not be part of the union.

IU Health is currently in the process of expanding its downtown Indianapolis facilities – with the expectation that University and Methodist hospitals will eventually be consolidated sometime in 2027.

“In the next five-plus years, or whenever that big building is done, we will be one hospital,” Armes said.

Travel nurses would not be included in the union, but Armes said they have been supportive of their organizing.

Bailey Pollard is another nurse working to unionize the two hospitals. He said nursing shortages are not a problem unique to IU Health.

“There is a national and global nursing shortage,” Pollard said. “But one of the things we’ve noticed, especially at our hospital, and IU Health in general, is we just keep having our staff nurses leave and go to other places. They’re constantly replaced with travelers.”

IU Health, like many hospitals across the country, has turned to travel nurses and international nurses to help fill staffing gaps.

But Pollard said IU Health is struggling to keep nurses who live in the area because wages and benefits aren’t competitive.

“Yes, there is a national and global nursing shortage, but we are not doing enough to get nurses that live and work in Indianapolis to come and work at IU Health,” he said.

A spokesperson for IU Health said that while they respect team members’ right to explore joining a union, “IU Health desires to remain a non-union work environment and does not feel a union is in the best interest of nurses or patients.”

Contact WBBA/WFYI reporter Ben Thorp at

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