Nurses Reach Tentative Contract Agreement with University of Michigan | State


University of Michigan Medical Center | Laina G. Stebbins

The union representing about 6,200 Michigan Medicine nurses who have been working without a contract since July announced Thursday that the group has reached a tentative agreement with the University of Michigan that would avert a potential strike, end overtime compulsory and raise wages to recruit and retain workers. .

Members of the Michigan Nurses Association-University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council (MNA-UMPNC) are expected to vote on the contract in a series of meetings next week. If the members ratify it, the contract will become final. The University of Michigan Board of Trustees holds the contract with the MNA-UMPNC.

Thursday’s announcement comes after union members vote earlier this month to allow their elected nursing bargaining team to go on strike over what union leaders and workers describe as unfair labor practices that left nurses exhausted, burnt out and quitting their jobs altogether. Union members have been in contract negotiations with the University of Michigan since March 15, and the nurses’ contract expired on June 30.

At a meeting of the University of Michigan board of trustees on June 16, 2022, nurses at Michigan Medicine said they were facing a “staffing crisis.” | Photo courtesy of the Michigan Nurses Association

“During our months of solidarity and collective action, nurses have stood firm to reach an agreement that addresses our members’ priorities of protecting patients and investing in nurses so that we can provide the best care. possible,” MNA-UMPNC President Renee Curtis said. press release issued Thursday.

“MNA-UMPNC nurses would like to thank our community for all of their support and advocacy over the months,” Curtis continued, who worked as an emergency department nurse at Michigan Medicine for about two decades. “Our elected nursing negotiating team is unanimous in believing that this agreement is a victory for everyone who cares about nurses and the quality of care at the University of Michigan.”

The tentative agreement includes an end to mandatory overtime, “an improved mechanism to enforce contractual workload ratios” and competitive wages to recruit and retain qualified nurses, the union said. Union leaders said they would not release further details of the contract until union members vote on the deal.

Mary Masson, spokeswoman for University of Michigan Health, the clinical division of Michigan Medicine, said in an emailed statement Thursday that the agreement includes an end to mandatory overtime, “except in situations of defined emergencies”, and offers salary increases and lump sum bonuses. .

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In its statement, the University of Michigan called its nurses “valuable and crucial partners in the safe, high-quality care we provide.

The tremendous work invested in this agreement will result in continued support for our patients and ensure they have uninterrupted access to the highest quality, cutting-edge healthcare available at University of Michigan Health,” wrote Mason.

During negotiations, union leaders accused the University of Michigan administration of illegally failing to address chronic understaffing, among other issues. In August, the deputy filed a complaint against the university in an attempt to force the school to negotiate workload ratios.

The lawsuit was dropped on Wednesday, the day the tentative agreement was reached.

The University of Michigan said in its statement Thursday that the tentative contract agreement “allows us to maintain the industry-leading staffing levels we have historically maintained, and now includes language that builds on and defines our people management process more clearly in the future.”

In August, nurses from the University of Michigan held a town hall meeting in Ann Arbor to share their experiences of working with the community. During the event, which was broadcast livenurses painted a picture of working conditions, including a staff shortage, which left workers deeply demoralized and tired.

“Between the pandemic and the continued staffing shortages in our healthcare system, the level of moral trauma that our nurses are experiencing is immense,” Curtis said at the town hall. “We don’t see an end in sight. We don’t have a shortage of nurses; we lack nurses ready to work in these conditions.

The nurses documented what they described as unsafe working conditions at the administration. The MNA said in August that nurses at Michigan Medicine filed about 1,090 forms with management that raised concerns about unsafe staff, among other patient care issues, this year. This compares to 1,000 in 2021.

Before the tentative agreement was reached, about 4,000 UMPNC nurses signed a petition calling for an end to understaffing, an end to “dangerous forced overtime” and competitive wages that can recruit and retain nurses and beat inflation.

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