Union files complaint against Trinity Health after firing of 11 lab workers

Trinity Health Michigan, part of Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health, is standing by its decision to fire 11 workers, who were in the process of organizing with SEIU Healthcare Michigan, from outpatient labs in Ann Arbor and Canton.

The union filed a complaint against Trinity Health Michigan and alleges the workers were fired March 13 following months of advocating for safer working conditions. Union members contend the firings occurred after they made internal complaints about working conditions and that the company retaliated against unionization attempts, according to Michigan Radio.

The lab workers' supervisor was allegedly fired for refusing to search employees for union signup cards without their permission, according to a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board. 

Workers had been in a "continuously stressful" environment for months and reached an "emotional breaking point" March 9 after the supervisor was terminated, according to a news release from the union. They claim workers followed typical procedure to take the day for themselves and go home. 

In a news release shared with Becker's, Trinity Health Michigan called the union's claims "absurd and grossly distorted."

"Trinity Health Michigan denounces the baseless and libelous claims made by SEIU Healthcare of Michigan following the sudden and unannounced absences of lab employees at three of our outpatient blood draw sites," the release says. 

Rob Casalou, president and CEO of Trinity Health Michigan, held that the outpatient lab workers were terminated for voluntarily abandoning patient care without advance notice or permission, according to MLive.  

Other area unions have joined SEIU in calling on Trinity Health Michigan to reinstate the workers. Local labor leaders — including presidents of the Huron Valley Area Labor Federation and Michigan Nurses Association — have expressed support for SEIU's efforts, alongside elected officials. 

"I'm hoping these workers can get back to work, where they want to be," said State Rep. Carrie Rheingans in the union's release. "We're so short on staff across healthcare professions, we really need them to be able to get back to serving patients."

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