Strike FAQs for MNA RNs
Q. What is a strike?
A. A strike happens when a group of workers – in our case nurses – come together and decide to withhold our labor in order to advocate for what is right.
Q. How was the decision about whether to strike made? When would the strike be?
A. On January 25, 2023, an overwhelming majority – 97% – of members who voted in the strike authorization vote, voted YES, giving our elected bargaining team the power to call for a strike if the team deems it necessary. In order to give the hospital enough time to make alternate arrangements for patient care, we would provide 10-day notice before starting a strike.
Q. Is striking legal? Am I protected from retaliation if I go on strike?
A. Yes. You have the legal right to strike under the law. No action can be taken against your nursing license for participating in a strike. Retaliation from management against anyone for participating in the strike is strictly illegal. Illegal retaliation may include reducing regular hours, changing schedules, and issuing disciplines. MNA will aggressively defend members experiencing retaliation due to participation in legally protected strikes and union activity. If this occurs, please contact your MNA representatives immediately.
Q. Can the hospital hire permanent replacements?
A. This is not likely and is ill-advised on the part of the hospital. In most strike situations, the use of temporary employees can satisfy the employer’s need to remain open. It would be very difficult to find skilled nurses willing to accept a job without assurance of continued employment when the strike is over, and it could potentially be illegal for management to seek to do so. We are striking, in part, to protest the unfair labor practices of the hospital. If the hospital is found to have committed unfair labor practices (ULPs), they would not be able to permanently replace any workers.
Q. Can the hospital or my manager ask me whether I would strike?
A. You should expect that the hospital or your manager will ask you about whether you would individually participate in a potential strike. Hospitals often instruct managers to develop and utilize personal relationships with staff, so they can get them to talk about their plans. You are not required to respond to these questions. If you do, we urge you to simply reply that you do not know or are unsure. It is illegal for these questions to be asked of you by management in a coercive or intimidating way. If that happens, you should contact your MNA representatives immediately.
Q. What should I do if my supervisor tells me that I have to come to work during the strike and/or shows me some document saying that?
A. Contact MNA representatives immediately. This is a standard scare tactic to convince some nurses that they are “required” to work.
Q. How will my license be impacted by a strike?
A. Our strike would be to highlight issues affecting nurses and patients as a result of the hospital’s decisions. Your license will not be negatively impacted by your decision to choose to act in solidarity and go on strike.
Q. Would we lose our healthcare benefits if we go on strike?
It is appalling and morally reprehensible that a healthcare institution would even threaten to take away healthcare benefits from nurses for going on strike as MyMichigan has done. As a union, we would make sure to time our strike in such a way to maximize our coverage even if MyMichigan executives would rather take it away. We will hold MyMichigan accountable should they attempt any unlawful withdraw of our benefits.
Q. Should a newly hired caregiver honor the picket line during a strike? What if I’m not yet an MNA member?
A. Every nurse working under the MNA contract should honor the picket line. Federal labor law protects all concerted activity, including strikes. New hires are covered by our contract and therefore should honor the picket line. If you aren’t yet a member, you can join by going to minurses.org/join! The more members we have, the stronger our voice. Hospital executives can see our membership numbers and it makes a difference in negotiations. If a strike is authorized, no nurse represented by MNA should cross the picket line under any circumstances. We need everyone to stand together in solidarity if we want to make our working conditions better.
Q. What does it take to have a successful strike?
A. SOLIDARITY! The more nurses we have standing together, the stronger we will be. Every nurse who chooses not to stand with us – should we decide to strike – weakens our union and our bargaining position.
Q. How can community members support our campaign?
A. Should we end up striking, everyone would be welcome to join us on the picket line – any time and any hour. Donations of food and hand warmers would also be appreciated! Community members can also voice their support for us by calling or emailing hospital executives.