Mercy Health Muskegon RNs reject contract, prepare to strike

SEIU Healthcare Michigan, the state's largest healthcare union, is preparing for a possible strike over a contract dispute affecting workers at a Mercy Health Muskegon (Mich.) nursing unit, according to a report from MLive Media Group.

The union, which represents nurses, hospital staff, nursing home employees and homecare workers, told MLive Media Group that it planned to notify hospital system administrators of a pending strike vote.

SEIU Healthcare Michigan President Marge Robinson said the alert comes after nurses at the Mercy Health Muskegon campus earlier this month overwhelmingly rejected a contract that would have cut pay and benefits, according to the report. The report notes the day nurses rejected the contract was the same day the hospital's parent company, Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health, approved its $271 million campus consolidation and medical tower project.

The union said the hospital system proposed to decrease wages, triple healthcare co-pays and offer "a paltry $300 bonus to employees," according to MLive Media Group. Mercy Health Muskegon also proposed limiting paid time off, initiating a mandatory overtime policy and cutting premium pay for weekend shifts.

In an official statement, Mercy Health Muskegon spokeswoman Joan Kessler said hospital officials are striving to reach consensus on a contract, and continue "negotiating in good faith with the SEIU Healthcare Michigan RN unit," according to the report.

Negotiations are scheduled to continue this week.

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