U of M Nurses’ Contract Expires Amid Nurses’ Unresolved Concerns

For Immediate Release
Contact: Dawn Kettinger dawn.kettinger@minurses.org; (517) 721-9688

Management won’t return to the bargaining table until July 9

ANN ARBOR (MI) – The contract covering registered nurses at the University of Michigan Health System (Michigan Medicine) expired at midnight Saturday. Although some progress was made, significant issues remain unresolved and managers refuse to return to the bargaining table until July 9.

The University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council (UMPNC), an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association, represents 6,000 registered nurses throughout the health system.

“Our team feels good about standing firm against administrators’ attempts to ignore nurses’ staffing concerns and force us to take unnecessary concessions,” said Katie Oppenheim, RN, chair of UMPNC/MNA. “It’s disappointing that management will take a whole week off from bargaining, but our team remains ready to work toward a fair agreement that protects patients and values nurses. Nurses are united and more motivated than ever to keep advocating for ourselves and our patients.”

Nurses’ unresolved concerns include administrations’:

  • Proposals to cut nurses’ retirement and make other economic changes that hurt recruitment and retention of nurses;
  • Refusal to publicly disclose staffing information, such as how many patients each nurse is assigned at one time;
  • Refusal to let nurses, not management, decide which RNs serve on workplace committees; and
  • Focus on increasing profits through programs such as Victors Care, which gives special donors better access to care.

The University of Michigan Health System, also known as Michigan Medicine, has reported it has a $103 million surplus for fiscal year 2018, from nearly $4.3 billion in revenue.

“We hope to see administrators come back from their week off ready to take nurses’ concerns more seriously and work with us to move forward,” said John Karebian, executive director of the Michigan Nurses Association. “Nurses will continue to provide excellent care to U of M patients day in and day out, like always, even as administrators take a break. Nurses are united in fighting for a contract that makes patients, not the university’s financial gain, top priority.”

Nurses will hold an informational picket/community rally on Saturday, July 14; this is not a strike or a work stoppage. Hundreds of nurses and community members have already RSVP’d at  bit.ly/UMpicket.

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