A Central Michigan union has canceled a tentative contract agreement between union leadership and McLaren.
If an agreement is not reached quickly, patient care could be compromised if staff go on strike for a better contract. The contract was overwhelmingly rejected by a ratio of three to one.
“There were still a lot of issues on the table that the members felt near and dear to their hearts and they didn’t get it. So when it came time for the vote, and they saw the tentative agreement , you know it was overwhelming rejection,” said Bill Somher, president of AFSCME 2650.
Earlier this week, union members rejected a tentative agreement between union leaders and McLaren. AFSCME 2650 represents assistance service employees from McLaren Flint, McLaren Lapeer, McLaren Home Care Group and satellite offices of McLaren Doctors in Genesee and Lapeer counties.
Sohmer said a major sticking point was a ratio of 1 to 37 caregivers per patient. Sohmer said it was not safe for patients.
“You have patients who have to get up and use the toilet, but they need help. If they don’t have anyone there, most people will get up and try on their own because they don’t want to be ashamed of getting dirty. And that’s going to create a higher slip and fall rate,” Sohmer said.
Sohmer said health insurance premiums, pay raises and mileage reimbursements are other issues that need to be addressed. He said the option of a strike is still on the table.
“If all support services employees leave work, it would fall to RNs and managers to care for patients and provide all of the services that our group provides,” Sohmer said.
First, further negotiations are planned.
“Hopefully McLaren will come back to the table and hear what the members have said and provide a better contract or a better tentative deal for the members to vote on,” Sohmer said.