Coalition alleges Michigan-based health system violated federal labor law
Detroit, MI – A coalition of 10 Michigan unions has jointly condemned McLaren’s lack of transparency about finances and PPE, many filing a charge that the health system has violated federal labor law by withholding information from frontline workers.
McLaren sent a letter May 15 to each union refusing to provide frontline workers with the basic information they had requested: how much money the hospital received in COVID-19 grants from the federal government. McLaren had also previously refused to provide details about the hospital’s PPE inventory that many other health systems have shared with their workers without a confidentiality agreement, which resulted in earlier charges being filed.
McLaren workers across hospital campuses wore stickers in protest Monday; over 5,000 stickers were distributed. On Wednesday, multiple unions filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board.
The outrage comes amid McLaren executives’ refusal to cap their salaries at $1 million each year. The coalition had previously called for the over $8 million that would be saved from executive compensation caps to be reinvested in the frontlines.
McLaren executives also have not provided frontline workers with hazard pay or COVID-19 paid leave banks on par with other health systems. The only way front-line McLaren workers can access additional PTO is if they test positive for COVID-19; this leaves out those who need to look after sick family members, those unable to work despite their test results (a problem given the prevalence of false negatives), and those who have had their hours greatly reduced because of low patient numbers.
Many other Michigan health systems have provided additional COVID paid time off for employees without the same restrictions as McLaren. McLaren also has not provided exemptions from vulnerable workers having to treat COVID patients as other systems have.
The unions in the coalition are the Michigan Nurses Association, AFSCME Local 875, AFSCME Local 2650, IAEP Local 804, UAW Local 362, OPEIU Local 459, Teamsters Local 332, SEIU Healthcare Michigan, OPEIU Local 40, and UNITE HERE! Local 688.
Christie Serniak, a nurse at McLaren Central hospital and president of the MNA affiliate there said: “The lack of transparency is outrageous. The McLaren health system is likely getting federal dollars while still paying its executives millions. The fact that they won’t share basic financial information with those of us working on the frontlines makes you wonder if they have something to hide.”
Kelly Indish, President of AFSCME Local 875 representing registered nurses at McLaren Flint said: “This is corporate greed at its finest. The refusal to provide this information reeks of suspicion. McLaren doing what’s best for whom?”
Jeff Morawski, President of OPEIU Local 40 and a nurse at McLaren Macomb, said: “This is another example of McLaren hiding information, and we believe they are clearly violating labor law. Receiving federal funds and not reporting it is nothing more than a lack of transparency.”
Sharon Adlam a Nursing Clerk at McLaren Bay Regional Hospital said: “Truck drivers will receive hazard pay for dealing with inanimate objects, while we are dealing with human lives. Health Care Workers should be eligible for hazard pay.”
Bill Sohmer, President of AFSCME Local 2650 representing over 900 technical employees said: “While other companies have voluntarily provided employees with extra pay, employees who earn the least within the McLaren system are offered nothing while executives continue to earn million-dollar salaries.”
The Michigan Nurses Association represents over 13,000 Registered Nurses and health care professionals across the state including at McLaren Central Michigan, McLaren Lapeer, McLaren Cheboygan, and McLaren Homecare.
Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), Local 459, represents over 1,100 employees at McLaren Greater Lansing hospital, home care and physicians’ practices.
OPEIU Local 40 represents over 600 Registered Nurses and 320 Service Group members at McLaren Macomb.
Teamsters Local 332 represents approximately 150 Technical Bargaining Unit members at McLaren-Flint which includes essential workers who are certified, registered and/or licensed.
SEIU Healthcare Michigan represents 11,000 healthcare employees in Michigan and about 650 frontline workers at McLaren Thumb, McLaren Bay, and McLaren Oakland.
Local 688, UNITE HERE! represents most of the ancillary workers at McLaren Bay Medical Hospital in Bay City, including Environmental Service Aides, Dietary Aides, Cooks, Custodians, Laboratory Asst. II, Sterile Processing Technicians, Storekeepers, Support Services, Maintenance Workers, Maintenance Mechanics, Electricians, Plumbers, Carpenters, HVAC Techs, Painter, Nurses Assts., Nursing Service Clerks, Rehabilitative Service Aides, Transporter, Cardiac Care Associates (CCAs), Endo/Minor Procedure Care Associates (EPCAs), Patient Care Associates(PCAs), OB Care Associates (OBCAs), and Surgical Support Associates (SSAs).
International Association of EMTs and Paramedics (IAEP) Local 804 represents over 70 McLaren Bay EMS employees.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 875 represents RNs, RNFAs, and CRNAs at McLaren Flint Hospital, McLaren Home Care and Hospice RNs in Davison McLaren Surgery Center and Cancer Center. AFSCME local 875 also represents RNs at the McLaren Fenton Emergency Department that recently opened.
AFSCME Local 2650 represents over 900 Non-Technical Employees covering Genesee and Lapeer Counties.
UAW Local 362, Unit 3 represents members including nurses, PTs, OTs, MSWs, and SLPs that work in home care out of McLaren’s Bay City office.
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