MNA Soo Nurses File Federal Labor Charges Against MyMichigan; Strike to Proceed

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI – The Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against MyMichigan Medical Center Sault on behalf of members there.

As previously announced, MNA nurses will hold a five-day strike in protest of the hospital’s unfair labor practices and in demand of a fair contract. The strike will begin Monday, April 15, at 6:45 a.m. Both sides met Wednesday for a 14th session of bargaining but did not reach agreement.

Nurses say MyMichigan’s offers so far will cost them hundreds of dollars in healthcare costs each month and won’t bring them up to par long-term with other U.P. and MyMichigan hospitals. They say this makes it hard to recruit and retain enough nurses to staff the hospital safely.

“While we wish it weren’t necessary to go on strike, we are united in doing what’s right for our patients and our community,” said Elizabeth Pancheri, RN. “We really appreciate all the support we’ve been receiving – people can see through MyMichigan’s efforts to portray Soo nurses as greedy and ungrateful. Our community deserves better from MyMichigan. We welcome everyone to join us on the picket line as we fight for fair treatment and a fair contract.”

The charges* filed Monday ask the National Labor Relations Board to investigate Soo nurses’ assertions that MyMichigan:

  • Illegally surveilled nurses at their informational picket on March 12, assigning an excessive number of security guards who stood watching them in hospital doorways and continuously circled the event in a van;
  • Is bargaining in bad faith by suddenly changing the rules so they don’t have to pay nurses for shifts when they accidentally missed punching in or attended a required staff meeting on their time off; and
  • Illegally threatened and retaliated against the union president for bringing an unfair labor practice charge by serving her a subpoena for her personal phone and all correspondence between her and federal investigators.

“We are sick of MyMichigan executives treating us with disrespect and trying to intimidate us,” said Madeline Malysa, RN. “Nurses are fighting back because we care so much about our hospital and the community. We won’t stand for the way MyMichigan big shots in Midland are trying to tear us down. They need to know they are not above the law.”

After a previous federal investigation, the hospital was forced to post a settlement saying it would not illegally create the impression of surveilling RNs and would not illegally discipline nurses. This was related to the hospital’s suspension of the union president for engaging in protected union activities.

The NLRB has been investigating MNA’s assertion that MyMichigan is refusing to comply with the settlement.

Nurses at the hospital voted unanimously last month to give their bargaining team the ability to call for a ULP strike should it become necessary. On April 3, a marathon bargaining session failed to produce an agreement. That day, the MNA nurses gave the hospital notice that the strike would start April 15.

Another bargaining session is scheduled for April 18, and the MNA nurses have offered to bargain every day during the strike.

About 120 nurses work at the hospital. They have been working under a contract that expired Dec. 31.

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

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*See a copy of the new charges here.
NOTE: Photos and video from the nurses’ March 12th informational picket are available here.

Contact: Dawn Kettinger; 517-721-9688 (cell)

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