As I see it - Executive Director's column
by John Karebian, Executive Director
From Marquette to Kalamazoo, from Ann Arbor to Alpena, MNA members continue to win the best contracts for RNs in the nation. Our recent victory at the University of Michigan in contract negotiations will give nurses a significant voice in areas such as staffing, nursing practice and technology. The contract also provides for step increases and across-the-board wage increases which will result in many nurses seeing increases of $5 to $10 by the last year of the agreement. The nurses also made improvements to the health insurance package negotiated throughout the University for all other employee groups while preserving important rights and benefits the hospital wanted to take away from the nurses.
Forty years ago nurses were among the lowest paid professionals, had no retirement, and little control over their hours. Today, nurses are joining MNA, and through collective action, have safer working conditions, more retirement, and salaries commensurate with experience. Our agreements are noted for enhancing the voice of RNs in patient care decisions, and as a strong professional RN union, our contracts empower nurses to take our patient advocacy from the bedside to the Capitol and beyond. MNA/NNU contracts continue to protect critically important principles for its members including regulating technology, protection against deskilling of nursing practice, restrictions on mandatory overtime, appropriate staffing ratios and the prevention of inappropriate floating.
MNA nurses continue to make their voices heard. I am proud of the way our members have stood up for their patients, their communities, and their profession. They see the damage done by misplaced priorities in their hospitals and in our legislature. Good people can’t find jobs, seniors can’t afford their medications, parents forced to send their kids to substandard schools. Nurses are demanding a change in public policy and leading the charge!!!
We invite RNs throughout the state to join our movement and help us build an even more powerful voice for RNs and our patients. Nurses are joining MNA and our national affiliate, the National Nurses United (NNU). Because our focus is health care professionals only, we are able to maintain a focus on practice and patient care issues.
I have always believed that nurses have the right, the skills, and the ability to participate in every decision affecting them and the jobs they do. The union provides a democratic vehicle for nurses and other health care professionals to exercise real power at work. I urge all of you to become active in the MNA. Together we can build an RN movement that will defend and advance the interests of direct care nurses across the country. For more information on organizing with MNA, please visit our website at www.minurses.org. n