UPHS-Marquette nurses strike underway

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Around 6 p.m. Wednesday night negotiations between the hospital and Michigan Nurses Association ended early and nurses saw no choice but to move forward with their two day strike.

"By seeing us walking tomorrow for them they will realize that we really do care," said Stephanie DePetro, chief grievance steward for the Michigan Nurses Association. "We care about our patients, we care about our community."

Thursday morning, the Michigan Nurses Association along with other statewide unions will take to the community picket line outside the hospital on College Avenue from 7 a.m. until Saturday morning at 6:59 a.m.

"With the support of our union brothers and sisters across the area, we can have a successful strike and let this hospital know that this isn’t acceptable to us," said DePetro.

The final decision to strike came after the several negotiation meetings in the 13 days since the intended strike was called. After meeting at 4 p.m. the MNA said they felt like no contract agreement would be made Wednesday night.

"It was discussed that we probably wouldn’t have any meaningful movement on any of our issues and we adjourned," said Scott Balko, the local union president for the MNA.

The hospital released a statement Wednesday, saying in part:

"While we hope to avoid a strike, we have been preparing for this possibility and have a comprehensive plan in place to ensure that there is no interruption in care of our patients and community members....We will be fully staffed with highly qualified temporary nurses for the duration of the strike."

Contract negotiation between both parties will not stop after the strike.

"Now we don’t have any future dates set to go back to the table with the hospital, but we will continue to bargaining and meet with them and try to work out a contract," said DePetro.

TV6 will have continuing coverage on the strike over the next two days. For the latest News, Weather and Sports, tune into your TV6 News and FOX UP News.

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UPDATE: 9:00 p.m.
Victor Harrington, Regional Director of Marketing and Business Development for U.P. Health System released a statement of behalf of the hospital Wednesday night. It reads:

"While we had hoped to avoid a strike, we have been preparing for this possibility and have a comprehensive plan in place to ensure that there is absolutely no interruption in care for our patients and community members. Right now, and always, our focus is on delivering high-quality care to our community. We will be fully-staffed with highly-qualified temporary nurses for the duration of the strike and assure the community that our commitment to patient care will be unchanged.

We consider it a privilege to serve the healthcare needs of the Upper Peninsula, and we stand ready to continue our negotiations with the Michigan Nurses Association so that we can reach a new contract that meets the needs of our nurses, hospital and community."

Stay with TV6 News for the latest developments.

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The U.P. Health System - Marquette nurses have said they will strike on Thursday at 7 a.m. As of about 6:20 p.m. on Wednesday, the nurses have ceased bargaining with the hospital.

TV6's Nicole Buchmann is on scene at the hospital Wednesday night and will have a live report on your TV6 News Tonight at 7/6c.

Nurses will begin marching from their office at 260 W Magnetic St at 7 AM to the picket line along W College Ave, east of N 7th St.

This is a developing story. TV6, FOX UP, and UpperMichigansSource.com will have the latest details as they are made available.



 
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