Michigan nurses plan 5-day strike

Members of the Michigan Nurses Association are set to begin a five-day strike April 15 at MyMichigan Medical Center Sault in Sault Ste. Marie.

The union represents about 120 nurses at the facility. MyMichigan Medical Center Sault is affiliated with the University of Michigan Health with more than 900 employees, volunteers, healthcare providers and other personnel.

Union members voted to authorize a strike in March, according to a news release from the MNA. The hospital and union have been negotiating a new labor deal; nurses' last contract expired Dec. 31. Kevin Kalchik, president of MyMichigan Medical Center Sault, told Becker's via an email that "after a full day of negotiating in which MyMichigan made a significant proposal that included an increase for our most senior nurses from $37 to $44.77 per hour, within 30 minutes of that proposal, the Michigan Nurses Association responded by providing MyMichigan Medical Center Sault a 10-day strike notice."

The union contends that in months of negotiations, MyMichigan executives have failed to offer solutions that put MyMichigan Medical Center Sault nurses' pay at par with other Upper Peninsula hospitals; address the increasing costs of health insurance; and withdraw proposed concessions including around unused PTO. "We are willing to sacrifice our paychecks to fight for our patients because we cannot allow the situation at our hospital to continue to deteriorate," Colleen Waucaush, RN, said in the union release.

"We have negotiated in good faith in more than 13 sessions up to this point, working hard to reach an agreement," Mr. Kalchik said. "We are very comfortable with what we have proposed."

The next bargaining session is scheduled for April 10.

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