UMHS Nurses Gain with New Contract Provisions
Contact: Ann Sincox
November 1, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“We will be able to provide better patient care because of these changes.”
Ann Arbor, Michigan – Over 4000 University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) registered nurses, represented by the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) are voting this week on whether to accept or reject a new collective bargaining agreement between UMHS and the University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council (UMPNC)/MNA. The parties reached a tentative agreement on Friday, October 21.
“These negotiations were incredibly difficult, but when we finally reached a consensus, we knew we had an agreement that would continue to attract and retain the caliber of nurses to provide the world class nursing care at UMHS, “ said Katie Oppenheim, RN, President of UMPNC. “One of the areas that held up these negotiations was the University’s insistence that our members pay more for our health insurance. We were able to negotiate raises and other protections that outweighed the increased health insurance costs. This agreement leaves our members better off.”
In addition the contract addresses professional practice and staffing issues. “I’m pleased that we were able to improve contract language that gives nurses greater control of their practice, greater influence on staffing decisions, and a voice related to the uses of technology in our workplace,” said Steven Strahle, RN, member of the UMPNC bargaining team. "We will be able to provide better patient care because of these changes."
The nurses have been working without a contract since July 1, 2011.
“At all times, our goal has been to make sure nurses were treated fairly and with respect,” said John Karebian, MNA Executive Director. “When UMHS management was asking for more money plus numerous concessionary items out of the contract, the nurses knew that it would make recruiting and retaining exceptional nurses almost impossible. The nurses took their struggle to the streets and when nurses are on the outside of the hospital, there is something wrong on the inside. The nurses’ solidarity for the safety of their patients, the community and their own families shines as a testament to our nurses’ resolve and tenacity.”
The nurses will be voting on the tentative agreement through Saturday, November 5, 2011. Ballots will be counted that night.
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.