UPHS-Marquette nurses return to work following 'lock out' allegations

Upper Peninsula Health System-Marquette (Mich.) nurses returned to work Tuesday after ending their two-day strike Oct. 7, according to FOXUP-6 News.

The nurses attempted to return to work at 7 a.m. Saturday following their strike, but were allegedly "locked out" of the facility by UPHS-Marquette officials.

In a previous statement to Becker's Hospital Review on behalf of UPHS-Marquette, the hospital's parent company, Brentwood, Tenn.-based Duke LifePoint Healthcare said UPHS-Marquette officials did not "lock out" nurses after the strike. Rather, the hospital hired "a nationally respected staffing agency to secure highly qualified replacement nurses during the ... two-day work stoppage." Hospital officials had to maintain a minimum five-day commitment with the temporary nursing staff, meaning they would be employed to staff the hospital until Monday, Oct. 9, Duke LifePoint officials said in the statement to Becker's. According to officials, hospital nurses were allegedly aware of the agreement.

Community members rallied behind the hospital nurses Sunday, holding their own informational picket on UPHS-Marquette property, the report states.

UPHS-Marquette officials released a statement on the issue Tuesday with regard to the nurses' return: "At 7:00 a.m. [Tuesday] morning, the contract with the replacement nursing staff who temporarily served our community during the strike expired. Accordingly, our regular team of RNs have returned to work, and we are happy to have our team back. As you would imagine, we are eager to move beyond this work stoppage and renew our focus on the delivery of quality patient care to our community."

The statement continued: "UPHS-Marquette looks forward to returning to the bargaining table and working together with the union to develop a new contract that meets the needs of our hospital, our nurses and our community."

No bargaining sessions between hospital officials and nurses have been scheduled yet, the report states.

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