North Ottawa Community Hospital Nurses Say New Rule Endangers Patients
For Immediate Release
Contact: Cindy LaFountain, 517.853.5504
Labor law violation is hospital’s third in just over a year
GRAND HAVEN – The Michigan Nurses Association is asking the National Labor Relations Board to step in after North Ottawa Community Hospital unilaterally established a new on-call system for nurses that could compromise patient safety. The change, which could force nurses to work past the point of exhaustion, is the third unfair labor practice charge filed against North Ottawa in just over a year.
“Forcing an unsafe on-call system on the nurses is defenseless and puts the patients at risk,” said Flo Baerren, Labor Relations Representative. “There is no question that the hospital is violating the law by refusing to bargain with the nurses over the hours they work and listen to their professional judgment on the matter.”
The charge alleges that the hospital violated the National Labor Relations Act by unilaterally implementing an on-call system for the Family Birthing Unit nurses and refusing to bargain with the MNA over the issue. The Family Birthing Unit is the second department of the hospital to unilaterally implement a new on-call requirement.
When the hospital did this to the Operating Room Circulating nurses in 2011, the MNA filed an unfair labor practice charge over that unilateral change. That charge is still pending with the National Labor Relations Board and has been deferred to arbitration that is set for a hearing this month. A charge was also filed earlier in 2011 that has been resolved.
“I cannot think of any other employer we’ve dealt with that has had this many unfair labor practices filed against it in such a short period,” said John Karebian, Michigan Nurses Association Executive Director. “The nurses have the right to have a voice in how any unit is staffed. We will not stand by and allow the hospital to create problems with patient safety and care by refusing to consider the nurses’ proposals for proper staffing and call schedules.”
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.