Strike planned at Ascension hospital in Michigan

Members of the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 40 have indicated plans to begin a three-day strike Sept. 11 at Ascension Providence Rochester (Mich.) Hospital. 

The union represents about 270 nurses and radiology technologists, according to The Oakland Press. The hospital is part of St. Louis-based Ascension.

Union members recently voted to authorize a strike. The union and hospital have been at the bargaining table since 2022 under extended contracts, according to the union's website. Ascension, in a statement posted online Sept. 5, said the hospital has been bargaining in good faith with the union, and during a recent bargaining session presented a final offer to OPEIU that includes an RN wage proposal with an average wage increase of more than 19 percent in the first year of the contract, as well as a nearly 15 percent increase to the maximum pay rate. Ascension said the current radiology technologist wage proposal also includes an average wage increase of more than 19 percent in the first year of the deal. 

Union members contend there has been a lack of progress in negotiations. During bargaining, OPEIU Local 40 has specifically raised concerns about pay and staffing.

Despite the hospital's proposed raises, pay for Ascension Providence Rochester staff is behind other Ascension hospitals and facilities in the area, said Dina Carlisle, RN, president of OPEIU Local 40, according to The Oakland Press. Ms. Carlisle also alleges the hospital has a recruitment and retention problem.

The union has also filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board against Ascension, for alleged unlawful actions amid negotiations.

Given the planned strike, the hospital has contracted with a staffing agency to provide registered nurses and radiology technologists, Ascension said.

Ascension said the hospital is contractually required to commit to at least four days of work for any registered nursing and radiology technologist staff replaced. Striking workers will be temporarily replaced starting Sept. 11 and will be able to return to their scheduled shifts beginning the morning of Sept. 15.

Meanwhile, additional negotiations are scheduled for Sept. 6, Sept. 11 and Sept. 18 for the nurse contract, as well as Sept. 6 and Sept. 28 for the radiology technologist contract.

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