Nurses' two day strike authorization vote begins

Published: Apr. 20, 2018 at 3:32 PM EDT
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Bright and early Friday morning, voting began for union nurses at UP Health System-Marquette. This vote is to give union leaders the authority to call a strike if necessary.

Nurses have been in contract negotiations with Duke Life Point for more than a year now and the nurses have been working without a contract for nine months.

UPHS Marquette nurses held a 48 hour strike six months ago. That strike was authorized in a similar vote back in August.

Since the strike in October nurses have said 16 hour shifts have continued at UPHS in most departments.

Representative Sara Cambensy for the 109th District, who the joined the nurses on the picket line during the strike said regardless of the outcome, this vote impacts the community.

"What we are seeing is that the nurses won't compromise the safe patient care standards that they believe are necessary for them as professionals to provide that care for our friends, family, and neighbors," said Cambensy.

Fred Cole, who is part of the teachers union said although deciding to authorize a strike isn't easy, the nurses are in a tough position.

"I think their minds are set to stick to their position, their slogan is 'Patients over Profits' and better working conditions and better hours and I think they are pretty committed to their position," said Cole.

By law nurses are required to give the hospital a 10 days notice before any planned strike action is carried out.

The strike authorization vote is scheduled until 9 p.m. Friday and will continue to Saturday from 7:30 in the morning to 9 p.m.

TV6 & FOX UP has reached out the hospital who plans to have a statement after the voting outcome.

The next five bargaining sessions have been set with the first starting Monday, April 23.

This is a developing story, TV6 and FOX UP will continue to have the latest information when it becomes available.