Michigan Medicine Breaks a Written Commitment to Maintain Current RN Staffing Levels

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sara Wallenfang; 517-974-4966

University of Michigan Nurses file an Unfair Labor Practice Charge and demand honesty from President Spahlinger and his bargaining table representatives

(ANN ARBOR, MI) The University of Michigan Professional Nurses Council, an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association, has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the University. Dr. David Spahlinger, president of Michigan Medicine, and his negotiations team failed to live up to a written commitment to maintain current staffing levels. Adequate RN staffing levels are critical to maintaining safe patient care.

“Dr. Spahlinger made a specific commitment to our members in an email. Then his representatives turned around and broke that commitment,” said John Karebian, Executive Director of the Michigan Nurses Association. “That is more than just an empty promise. Either Spahlinger lied or his representatives at the bargaining table failed to keep his commitment. We filed a ULP charge to hold the University accountable and to keep patients safe.”

In an email sent on Monday, July 2 to nearly 6,000 of University of Michigan’s unionized nurses, Dr. Spahlinger said “the University has committed to maintaining current staffing levels.” The full email can be read here: https://www.minurses.org/cms/assets/uploads/2018/07/Email-from-Spahlinger.pdf

Yet, during contract negotiations this week, University administrators refused to agree to maintain staffing levels in the nurses’ contract.

Nurses plan to attend the University Board of Regents meeting today, July 19, to express additional concerns about contract negotiations. RNs have received strong community support, including this joint public letter from elected officials, urging the University to negotiate a fair contract: https://www.minurses.org/cms/assets/uploads/2018/07/MNA-letter-of-support.pdf

Nurses have been working without a contract since June 30. More than 2,000 RNs and community supporters turned out to a rally on July 14: https://www.minurses.org/news/nurses-and-community-supporters-rally-for-safe-staffing-at-university-of-michigan-hospitals/

The University of Michigan Professional Nurses Council is an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA). 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.

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