For Immediate Release
Contact: Sara Wallenfang; 517-974-4966
Nurses, Stretched Thin, Say Union Contract Needed for Safe Staffing and Quality Care
COMMERCE TOWNSHIP – Well over 100 members of the Professional Nurses Association of Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital (HVSH) and supporters rallied outside of Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital in Commerce Township today, calling for a fair contract for nurses at the hospital.
“I am speaking out today because Huron Valley nurses are doing everything that we can to care for our patients, but increasingly, we are stretched so thin that near-misses are becoming ordinary,” said Tina Grossman, an Emergency Department nurse with more than 10 years of experience at HVSH. “There simply aren’t enough of us to keep patients safe at all times.”
Nurses at Huron Valley voted to form their union in March 2016 and are currently bargaining for first contract at Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, with safe staffing a top priority. The Professional Nurses Association of HVSH is an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association.
“Huron Valley is a critical health care provider for Oakland County,” said Oakland County Commissioner Dave Woodward. “It’s extremely important that hospital executives get to work at the bargaining table – soon – so that nurses can effectively do the work they know and love: taking care of patients.”
Huron Valley, founded in 1986 as a non-profit community hospital, later became part of the Detroit Medical Center. In 2010, DMC was purchased for $1.5 billion by Vanguard Health Systems, which was in turn purchased by Dallas-based Tenet Health Care Corporation for $1.8 billion in 2013.
Huron Valley is now part of Tenet DMC – and years of corporate cost-cutting, nurses say, has cut back on key positions and left nurses without support they need to provide high quality patient care. In addition, nurses are bargaining for fair compensation to attract and retain highly qualified RNs.
In November of last year, nurses released “Unable to Provide Safe Patient Care,” a report which describes the impact of years of corporate cost cutting at the former non-profit community hospital.
“I’m proud to stand with our nurses and they are absolutely right to highlight the critical issue of safe staffing,” said Dr. David Green, a neurologist at HVHS. “I work with these nurses at Huron Valley every day, and I’ve seen first-hand that they are being pushed to do too much with too little support. When nurses form a union and advocate for quality care, that’s a win for all of us – and for our patients.”
“As a nurse, and even more so as part of a union, I am empowered to advocate for that person who is depending on me,” said Pam Koleno, a medical surgical and telemetry nurse who has worked at HVSH for twenty-two years. “Tenet Health Care may own our paychecks, but they will never own the heart and soul of our hospital.”
“I love our hospital. I love our patients, and I love that my coworkers are together as a union,” said Amy Wulke, an HVSH ICU and intermediate care nurse. “Together we can take our hospital back and ensure that our nursing practice thrives. We have already made tremendous progress. We are so close to the finish line, and we will not be denied now.”
The Professional Nurses Association of HVSH represents 350 RNs at Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital. The Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) is the largest, most effective union for registered nurses in Michigan, advocating for nurses and their patients at the State Capitol, in the community, and at the bargaining table.