Nurses at Prince William Hospital in Manassas have agreed to hold a second election on whether they will become the first health care workers in Northern Virginia to be represented by a labor union.

The hospital's 128 nurses voted by a two-to-one margin June 19 to form a labor union, but that election was nullified after hospital administrators complained to the National Labor Relations Board that the nurses had engaged in unfair labor practices.

Before the agency ruled on the complaint, the nurses agreed to hold a second election on July 31.

"We feel 100 percent certain that they [the NLRB] would have decided in our favor," said Wendy Baumler, a nurse and a union organizer. "But then the hospital would have appealed and we could have gone on with this for two years and still not have gotten anywhere."

"What the hospital is doing is playing a legal stall tactic," Baumler said.

Administrators at the 150-bed hospital objected to a nurse who stood outside the polling place and crossed off the nurses' names as they entered to vote, said E. L. Derring, a hospital administrator.

A spokesman for the Baltimore regional office of the labor board said that the taking of names at a polling place is not necessarily an unfair labor practice. "It depends on the circumstances," he said.

"The hospital is opposed to third parties negotiating wages and benefits," Derring said, adding that the hospital is constantly trying to keep up with the wages and benefits offered by other area hospitals.

Oranizers for the Service Employees International Union have promised to bargain for higher wages and better educational benefits of the union is recognized.