MNA RNs in the Soo vote to authorize ULP strike

Sault Ste. Marie, MI – Nurses at MyMichigan Medical Center Sault voted last night to authorize their bargaining team to be able to call for an unfair labor practice strike should it be necessary. A 10-day notice would be provided to MyMichigan before any strike begins.

“If MyMichigan thought that they could bully Soo nurses and steamroll our community, they were very mistaken,” said Colleen Waucaush, RN, and president of the MNA local. “We know our rights. We know what our patients and our community need. We are prepared to do what it takes to hold them accountable.”

After twelve sessions, the hospital has yet to offer any proposal that:

  • Puts nurses on par with either MyMichigan – Alma or other Upper Peninsula hospitals including UPHS Marquette, OSF Escanaba, and Marshfield-Dickinson Iron Mountain;
  • Addresses the rising costs of health insurance they are asking nurses to accept with appropriate compensation elsewhere; and,
  • Withdraws their proposed concessions including asking unionized MyMichigan Medical Center Sault nurses to give up their right to cash out unused PTO when they allow non-unionized employees at other MyMichigan hospitals to keep that benefit.

Nurses are also especially frustrated that after the hospital’s administration stated to the press that they were hopeful an agreement would be reached soon following nurses’ 150+ person rally, MyMichigan has refused to offer any negotiating dates to either the Michigan Nurses Association or a federal mediator before April 18.

Previously, after an investigation by the federal government, the hospital was forced to post a settlement saying they would not illegally create the impression of surveilling RNs and would not illegally discipline nurses – including the union’s president – for engaging in protected union activity. Over ten charges of illegal behavior have been filed against MyMichigan by employees and unions in the past decade.

RNs feel that MyMichigan’s behavior has not improved despite the posting. Nurses have stated that they felt surveilled by the hospital during the picket and are concerned the hospital is not acting in good faith. The Michigan Nurses Association is investigating those allegations and may take further action.

“The ball is in MyMichigan’s court,” said Stacey Duchin, an ER nurse and member of the nurses’ negotiating team. “MyMichigan’s executives in Midland make millions. Now that we have shown that we’re willing to hold them accountable, we hope that they will start acting in good faith. If they don’t, they will have no one to blame but themselves when they get notice of our intention to strike.”

Nurses have been working under an expired contract since January 1. The hospital has so far refused to provide any bargaining dates before April 18. A 10-day notice would be provided to the hospital before any strike begins.

The Michigan Nurses Association is the largest and most effective union for registered nurses and healthcare professionals in Michigan. MNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United and the AFL-CIO. 

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Contact: Amelia Dornbush; 517-896-7478 or Dawn Kettinger; 517-721-9688

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