News & Events
Nurses' commitment to safe staffing pays off
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lapeer, MI - A contest of wills in regard to the ability to provide safe patient care at Lapeer Regional Medical Center (LRMC) has led to a victory for the approximately 190 nurses employed at the facility. The nurses, represented by the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA), have been working since early last year to fix an RN staffing issue at the Hospital.
On March 14, 2010, the Employer unilaterally changed the terms and conditions of the contract between LRMC and its nurses in order to reduce the staffing guidelines for each unit in the Hospital. “The nurses,” said Shela Khan Monroe, MNA Labor Representative, “weren’t having it.” MNA, on behalf of the nurses, filed eight class action grievances and an Unfair Labor Practice with the National Labor Relations Board due to the Employer’s alleged violation of the contract.
Management then attempted to appease the concerned RNs by providing some additional staffing but refused to bring the nurse-to-patient ratios back to their original guidelines. The RNs in turn unanimously rejected this compromise and demanded arbitration.
A year would go by with the RNs continuing to push for the original staffing guidelines, citing an unsafe staffing and practice environment due to the fewer number of nurses. On June 24, 2011, the MNA and LRMC agreed to settle the arbitration by reinstating the original staffing guidelines. The institution has until August 24 to fully reinstate and implement the original staffing guidelines.
“I am proud of the membership sticking together to fight against changes in our contract,” said Cheryl Weston, RN, president of the LRMC RN Staff Council. “We have a fair contract, and the employer violated it. The choice made by the Employer was having a direct affect on quality patient care as the nurses were constantly working without adequate staff. By aggressively sticking to our commitment to our patients, we were able to push past bottom-line thinking on the part of the Employer and put the safety of our patients first.”
The Michigan Nurses Association is the largest, most effective union for RNs in Michigan. As the voice of all registered nurses in Michigan, MNA advocates for nurses and their patients at the State Capitol, in the community, and at the bargaining table. MNA is a constituent member of National Nurses United and an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.