150+ MNA nurses, community members rallied outside of MyMichigan Medical Center Sault

Sault Ste. Marie, MI – Over 150 MNA nurses and community members held an informational picket outside of MyMichigan Medical Center Sault earlier today.

“We are fighting to make sure that patients are always the center of our community hospital,” said Colleen Waucaush, RN, and president of the MNA local at MyMichigan Sault. “We know how important recruiting and retaining nurses is to keeping patients safe. We are trying to create a strong foundation for our hospital’s future.”

Nurses say that they are frustrated by the attitude of MyMichigan executives – who are demanding concessions in their contract that they have not asked of non-union nurses. They are also concerned that the corporation – which netted $13 million in income according to the most recently available 990 – is not offering wages that are competitive with other area hospitals.

MyMichigan Medical Center Sault was forced into a settlement with the federal government last November as a result of their anti-union conduct at the hospital.

“Every time a coworker leaves to go somewhere else with higher pay and better benefits, my heart just drops,” said Elizabeth Pancheri, RN. “The Soo is my community, and I love it here. I want everyone to have the highest quality healthcare. Right now, MyMichigan executives in Midland are asking us to have lower wages than nearby hospitals while also seeking to raise our healthcare costs. This could be extremely detrimental to our community. All we’re asking for is what’s fair.”

MyMichigan is a Midland based health system. Several of its executives have made millions annually according to the most recently available 990s.

“It has been so inspiring to see our community rally around trying to protect what has made our hospital special,” said Joy Roe, RN. “We are fighting for safe staffing. Together, I really believe that we can make sure that MyMichigan always puts patients before profits.”

Nurses were inspired by and appreciated the support from community members during the picket. MyMichigan’s administration has yet to agree any future negotiating dates as of March 12.

After over an hour of chanting during the picket, three nurses gave speeches. Footage of their remarks and from the rally is available here. Waucaush ended her speech by directly addressing hospital administrators. “MyMichigan, if you don’t do the right thing, I have a very simple message for you,” said Waucaush. “We’ll be back.”

NOTE: This was not a work stoppage, picket, or strike – all participants attended outside of their work hours. Members participated without disrupting traffic flow or patient care.

The Michigan Nurses Association is the largest and most effective union for registered nurses and healthcare professionals in Michigan. MNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United and the AFL-CIO. 

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Contact: Amelia Dornbush; 517-896-7478

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