Contract negotiations continue for UPHS - Marquette nurses, tech staff

Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 5:40 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The contract for registered nurses at UP Health System - Marquette expires in less than two months.

UPHS – Marquette administration says it recently entered contract negotiations with the Michigan Nurses Association union for both registered nurses and technical staff. The hospital’s technical staff is working on their first contract as union members.

Both sides sent TV6 & FOX UP written statements to explain their priorities for the contracts.

“We are working toward contracts that meet the needs of our staff and hospital,” said UPHS - Marquette administration. “We are committed to creating a contract that reflects our respect and appreciation for the critical role every member of our team plays in providing high quality, safe care.”

Sam Richards, the vice president of the nurses’ union at UPHS - Marquette and a nurse on the medical-surgical unit, and Katlyn Lafrinere, the president of the tech and ancillary staff union at UPHS - Marquette and a senior cardiovascular technologist in the Cardiac Cath Lab, explained their views as they both serve on their negotiating teams.

“Our number one priority is making sure that we can retain the staff we need to keep our patients safe,” said Richards and Lafrinere. “There is no shortage of qualified nurses and healthcare professionals licensed to work. There is a shortage of caregivers willing to work under the conditions hospitals across the country – including in the UP – have been creating.”

UPHS acknowledged the impacts the pandemic has had on U.S. health care systems and employees.

“Given the extraordinary challenges faced by healthcare providers across the country, we continue to be grateful for the efforts of our clinical, administrative and support teams,” said hospital administration.

The administration says it looks forward to “continuing productive discussions with the MNA and reaching resolution as quickly as possible.”

Richards and Lafrinere said they have been very clear about their priorities and think it is possible for contracts to be in place by May 31 “should LifePoint respond appropriately to our concerns.”

LifePoint Health is the parent organization of UP Health System - Marquette.

The MNA held an informational rally last fall to draw attention to its concerns about the U.P.’s largest hospital.

In October 2017, when the nurses’ previous contract expired, they went on strike for 48 hours.

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