Michigan Medicine fails to bargain in good faith with its nurses University of Michigan Council of Vocational Nursing he claims.
With the union and the University of Michigan deadlocked after six months of negotiations, 6,200 MNA-UMPNC nurses have worked without a contract since the previous contract expired on June 30. At that time, the union organized rallies and create community petition to me call alert for its demands for safer working conditions for nurses.
guild stimulate Include an end to staff shortages in a safe manner Nurse workload ratiosFair wages and the termination of mandatory overtime. Unfair practice charges against the university allege that management violated state law by refusing to compromise with the union over nurse-to-patient employment ratios and retaliate against nurses who engaged in union activity.
On August 15, MNA Foot a lawsuit With the Michigan Claims Court alleging that the university’s refusal to compromise nurses’ workloads was a violation of the law Public Labor Relations Law 336 from 1947. The lawsuit seeks an injunction that would force the university to negotiate employment rates with the union.
In an interview with The Michigan Daily, Renee Curtis, UMPNC president and registered nurse, said safer workload ratios are the union’s most important requirement because they ensure quality patient care and a safe work environment for nurses.
“The foundation of our profession is … the service we provide to our patients,” Curtis said. “When we are not able to provide care to our patients due to staff shortages due to workload issues, it causes more trauma not only for the nurses, but it puts patients at risk of adverse events, and leads to poor outcomes for patients. As a result of not being able to have a registered nurse at the bedside “.
Although the union views workload ratios as a necessary component of the negotiations, the University of Michigan Health Department, Clinical Division of Medicine, says otherwise. Michigan Medicine spokeswoman Marie Mason wrote in an email to The Daily that the administration’s position is supported by state law.
“under decisions From the Michigan Labor Relations Commission and Michigan Courts of Appeals, setting employment levels is a subject of “non-mandatory” bargaining — something that a general employer has no obligation to bargain for — unless employment requirements are closely intertwined with the health and safety of unit employees. negotiation”.
Mason wrote that the proposal, which the university believes is “compelling and generous,” includes a 21% base salary increase for nurses over four years, the safe disposal of mandatory overtime, a $4,000 bonus for members of the union’s bargaining team and an increase in staffing guidelines.
On September 2, 96% of the more than 4,000 MNA-UMPNC members voted for a permission to strike, allowing the union bargaining unit to demand a halt to work at any time. Although state law does not allow strikes by public sector employees, a FAQ section The union’s website says nurses will only engage in suspensions to protest unfair labor practices, not to demand higher wages or a change in their working conditions.
September 2 UMPNC statement He said the negotiating team would only ask for a stop if they deemed it “absolutely necessary.” Curtis said a strike would be a last resort and that the union only wanted to discuss workload demands publicly in its negotiations with the league.
“We don’t have a shortage of nurses willing to work, we have a shortage of nurses willing to work in the working conditions in our hospitals,” Curtis said. “We would like to do everything possible to avoid any kind of downtime, and we are ready and willing to meet at any time and continue any necessary discussions.”
When asked about a possible strike, Mason writes that the hospital has extensive hiring plans if the union calls for work to stop.
“Patients at our hospital can expect our standard of care to continue,” Mason wrote. “We are concerned about future access, but we have extensive plans in place as we have been preparing for the possibility of obtaining permission to strike.”
In an interview with The Daily, Ann Jackson, a MNA-UMPNC member and registered nurse, said that despite the union’s size and 48-year tenure, management failed to respect the nurses’ basic rights.
“This is all about holding the university accountable and (making sure) they follow the law,” Jackson said. We believe they failed to bargain in good faith. They made inappropriate changes to our working conditions… We believe they are undermining the largest guild on campus.”
The possibility of layoffs in response to poor working conditions is not limited to nurses at Michigan Medicine. On September 12, 15,000 members Minnesota Nurses Association He went He hits To demand safer employment and better quality of patient care.
MNA-UMPNC noted its support for Minnesota nurses, writing in a tweet That a strike is not an easy decision.
“It’s a tough decision made with caution and yes, with sadness,” the tweet read. But also the determination, dedication and responsibility to protect our patients and our profession. Shame on officials pushing #nurses to this point.”
On September 14, University of Michigan central student government unanimous agreed Resolution indicating the union’s support. Karim Al-Rifai, director of communications and spokesperson for CSG, told The Daily that the association would like to see a solution come up as quickly as possible.
“The position of the president and vice president is that they hope that a solution can be found as quickly as possible, so that Michigan Medicine’s nurses can continue to provide the highest level of care in the state,” Al-Rifai said.
Al-Rifai also said that he felt a personal connection with medical nurses in Michigan after receiving care in the hospital when he was younger.
“When I was 13, I went to UM Hospital and had a very major orthopedic operation, and the nurses at UM Hospital were really taking care of me,” Al-Rifai said. “I have a lot of respect for them, and I hope everything works out for them. They provide the highest level of care in the state, so I personally hope that their needs are met.”
Jackson said the nurses want the university to respect them so they can continue to provide quality patient care.
“(Management needs to) follow the law, and they have to negotiate with us on workload ratios,” Jackson said. “There is nothing more fundamental to a nurse than that. We would also like them to solve other unfair labor practices we allege, and we are frustrated by not doing (doing it). We are only claiming our basic rights that are given by law.”
Curtis said she wants the larger UM community to know that patient safety remains the union’s number one priority, and nurses just want their voices to be heard.
“We know what safe patient care is, and we know how important it is to our patients,” Curtis said. “At the end of the day, what really matters is the safety of not just our nurses, but the safety of our patients, because our patients are everyone in the community. And that’s what matters to us.”
Irina Li’s daily staff correspondence can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.