• Fri. Dec 1st, 2023

Health Administration

Come One, Come All To Health Administration

Michigan Medicine nurses must demand a strike vote now!

Are you a nurse or health care worker at Michigan Medicine? Contact the WSWS Health Care Workers Newsletter using the form at the end of this article to discuss building a rank-and-file committee.

Michigan Medicine nurses discharging patient [Photo by Michigan Medicine]

The unions are keeping 6,200 nurses at the University of Michigan health care system on the job nearly two weeks after their contract expired. The nurses are being held back from a real fight for safe staffing and good wages and benefits.

The fact that the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) and its affiliated University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council (UMPNC) is keeping nurses on the job only ties the nurses’ hands and favors management, which feels emboldened. In its latest update on July 8, the hospital administration has ramped up its provocations against the nurses. Michigan Medicine is offering only 5 percent wage increases a year for four years, plus a $5,000 signing bonus. Given the fact that inflation is at 9.1 percent, this amounts to a substantial pay cut for nurses.

Meanwhile, management openly declares it will not resolve the nurses’ number one issue, staffing ratios. Management’s offer says that mandatory overtime will only be eliminated “within the next 24 months or sooner.” Even assuming this is true, and there is no reason to believe that it is, what will the health care system even look like after two years of continuous overtime? How many nurses will even be left to resume normal working hours?

Moreover, management is openly subverting negotiations by going around the union and emailing a copy of its June 30 contract proposal directly to nurses. The email contains an implicit financial threat if nurses do not immediately surrender: “we felt it was important for all nurses to be aware of the offer we made to MNA/UMPNC because nurses will be impacted by a pause in salary increases until a new agreement is ratified.” The union also reported that management is denying any input from the union on contract incentives and demanding that these be applied by management “at their sole discretion.”


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