UPDATE: Striking nurses issue new statement

Published: Oct. 6, 2017 at 7:21 PM EDT
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The following statement is from Scott Balko, Operating Room RN and President of the UPHS Marquette RN Staff Council/MNA:

"No one knows our patients or our community as well as Marquette nurses. From the beginning RNs and community members have called on Duke LifePoint to invest in full-time permanent safe staffing levels.

Consistent with correspondence received by nurses from Duke LifePoint, nurses will be prepared to return to work on Saturday at the conclusion of the strike.

Nurses thank everyone who turned out to the picket line or otherwise showed solidarity. We have felt so much support from our town, the UP, and across the state during the last forty-eight hours. The strength that our neighbors lent us will be used to continue to advocate for patients over hospital profits."


It wasn't a silent night as the strike continued into the early hours of the morning. Although the nurses say, the picket line was smaller at night, it allowed for the picketers to remember why they are out there.

"We had lots of discussion on what we want to see changed," said Emily Koren, a nurse on strike. "In those discussions we have solidarity about the problems that we have on our floors which we don't get to speak often with other floors and that was empowering too."

Throughout the strike, the picket line is not only filled with nurses and their signs but food donated from the community.

"The community support means everything to us everything from other union workers to Mrs. and Mr. X and all they do is go by and wave at us, it's fantastic," said Janie Klamerus, a nurse.

Even though hundreds of nurses and community members have been in and out of the picket line over the last day in a half, all said it is the last place they want to be.

"It's really hard to be standing out here on the streets when we know our community members are in their suffering and we want to be in there taking care of them and this was not an easy decision to strike," said Koren.

The hospital has hired temporary nurses to replace those who have been striking, transporting them in buses outside of the hospital. The strike will end tomorrow at 6:59 a.m. There has been speculation if the nurses who are scheduled to work Saturday morning will be locked out. The hospital responded on Friday in a statement saying:

"UPHS - Marquette has been made aware of rumors regarding a “lock-out” at the hospital. This is inaccurate, and we would like to clarify with the community.

A “lock-out” is a situation that occurs when an employer takes preemptive action to prevent employees from working. This is not happening at UPHS – Marquette.

As previously shared, we retained a nationally respected staffing agency to secure highly qualified replacement nurses during the MNA’s declared two-day work stoppage. A minimum commitment of five days is required to secure this level of nursing coverage, which therefore means we expect to be fully staffed with replacement nurses Saturday, Sunday and Monday – Oct. 7, 8, and 9. After these dates, our regular nursing staff will be back at work as usual.

We have made numerous efforts to notify our nurses that we may be fully staffed on these dates both prior to the work stoppage and since its commencement Thursday morning, and we will continue to do so until staffing returns to normal following the work stoppage.

We want our team back at work and will be happy when they return. In the meantime, we will continue to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of the high quality, safe and compassionate care that our patients and community members expect and deserve."

TV6 will be live outside the hospital Saturday morning at 6:59 a.m. as the strike concludes.