Michigan nurses receive $500 payments under back pay settlement

The union representing nurses at Munson Medical Center has reached a $420,500 settlement with the Traverse City, Mich.-based hospital related to an issue over low census back pay, according to hospital and union statements.

The settlement, announced June 4, resolves a class-action grievance filed by the Michigan Nurses Association. Union members ratified the settlement terms May 20.

"We see this as an important step forward between Munson administrators and unionized nurses," Carolyn Moss, a Munson nurse and president of the union's local bargaining unit at Munson Medical Center, said in a news release. "This puts words into action."

At issue in the settlement is low census back pay.

The Michigan Nurses Association said members who work in units that use low census allege they were not being appropriately paid per their contract when being sent home for low need on scheduled shifts, but later required to return to work the rest of their scheduled shift.

Both sides did not agree on the interpretation of low census language. However, they did agree that clarity was important, Dianne Michalek, a spokesperson for Munson Medical Center, told Becker's.

"We worked together with the union to develop a system that meets in the middle and going forward will address the concerns of both sides," Ms. Michalek said. "As part of the agreement, we have clarified and aligned on the new language and how we will apply it daily on the units. Together, we also agreed on a payment for nurses who work in units that use low census."

Under the settlement, 841 nurses received an additional $500 in their June 4 paychecks.

The Traverse City Munson Nurses Association is the Michigan Nurses Association's local bargaining unit at the hospital and represents approximately 1,000 nurses there. 

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