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Media Advisory: Nurses prepare for picket line at U of M Health System

08.08.2011

MEDIA ADVISORY

Contact: Robert Kolt,
517.706-0001
517.881.4446 cell

For Immediate Release 

August 8, 2011                                        

Nurses Prepare for Picket Line at University of Michigan Health System

PATIENT CARE IN JEOPARDY - NURSES WORKING WITHOUT A CONTRACT - PREPARE TO PICKET ON SATURDAY AUGUST 13

(Ann Arbor, MI)   A group representing the 4,000 registered nurses who are now working without a contract at the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS), represented by the Michigan Nurses Association/National Nurses United, will work to prepare picket signs on Tuesday, August 9, 2011 between 3:30 – 8 p.m. at IBEW Local 252, located at 7920 Jackson Road in Ann Arbor in preparation for a demonstration/picket line scheduled on Saturday, August 13.

University of Michigan nurses are voicing ongoing serious concerns about the safety of patients and the future of quality patient care at one of the nation’s leading medical facilities.  Health system management refuses to withdraw contract demands that nurses say will erode nursing and patient care standards at the facility.  Nurses have been working under an expired contract since July 1.

The nurses also recently filed a complaint with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission alleging that UMHS unlawfully engaged in regressive bargaining, made unilateral changes in working conditions, bargained directly with employees, and refused an employee’s rights to union representation - all violations of the Michigan Public Employment Relations Act.  The new charge amends an earlier complaint that charged UMHS with bad faith bargaining and making unilateral changes to working conditions for certain employees.

"We will return to the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith for a new agreement that is good for patient care and respects nurses' professional practice, experience and dignity," said Katie Oppenheim, RN, a labor and delivery nurse who is local union chair and a member of the union's bargaining team.   "But if management persists in its effort to erode nursing standards, our members are prepared to stage an informational picket on August 13 and, if necessary, take further action thereafter."

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The Michigan Nurses Association is the largest, most effective union for RNs in Michigan. As the voice of all registered nurses in Michigan, MNAadvocates for nurses and their patients at the State Capitol, in the community, and at the bargaining table. MNAis a constituent member of National Nurses United and an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.