For Immediate Release
Contact: Sara Wallenfang; 517-974-4966
Duke LifePoint must agree to a fair tentative contract with safe staffing by Thursday
(Marquette, MI) The following statement should be attributed to Scott Balko, Operating Room RN and President of the UPHS Marquette Staff Council/MNA:
On May 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, nurses will meet with Duke LifePoint managers in a last-ditch effort to reach a tentative contract agreement. After more than a year of negotiations, including three outstanding unfair labor practice charges, we are disappointed that administrators still seem unprepared to make specific proposals at the bargaining table.
If at the end of the day on Thursday we have not reached a tentative contract agreement, we are fully prepared to give notice and set a strike date. Nurse understaffing continues to jeopardize patient safety. Any tentative agreement must ensure that Marquette nurses do not take cuts to health insurance and retirement; such cuts would make it even harder to attract and retain enough qualified RNs.
Nurses have been in contract negotiations with Duke LifePoint since April 18, 2017 fighting for guaranteed safe staffing levels needed to protect patients across the Upper Peninsula. A two-month extension expired on July 28, and RNs have been working without a contract since. On October 5 and 6, nurses conducted a two-day strike to highlight ongoing patient safety concerns. A vote authorizing the nurse-leaders to call a second strike was held on April 20 and 21. The elected nurse bargaining team has the authority to call a strike, and by law, they are required to give the hospital ten days of notice.
The UPHS Marquette RN Staff Council represents about 375 Registered Nurses at UP Health System – Marquette. 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.