UPHS Marquette plan for nurses intended strike dates

Published: Sep. 22, 2017 at 8:14 PM EDT
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"We do hope that a strike will not be deemed necessary," said Brian Sinotte, the CEO of UP Health System Marquette early Friday afternoon.

By law the Michigan Nurses Association is required to give the hospital at least 10 days before striking. Friday made it a 13 day notice to the hospital administrators that if an agreement isn't made soon, there will be a strike on October 5 at 7 a.m. until October 6:59 a.m.

"We feel that two days will get some conversation going and would show the hospital we are serious and want to fix this," said Scott Balko the President of the UPHS Marquette RN Staff Council/MNA.

400 nurses at the UP Health System Marquette are represented by the MNA. The union said that they feel a majority will strike.

"We will have our staff outside of the hospital with picket signs walking the block," said Stepanie DePetro, the Chief Grievance Steward of UPHS.

The hospital says if the strike takes place they have a comprehensive plan that includes securing a fully qualified staff to replace those who would go on strike.

"We are not anticipating any interruptions in the services we provide," said Sinotte. "We are working very closely with our medical staff throughout this process and discussing that plan should it be necessary."

The dispute started in April, when the nurses and the hospital began contract negotiations.

The nurses focused on staffing ratios. In august the MNA handed 200 hundreds of forms to the MDHHS reporting 780 incidents of unsafe conditions to patients due to short staffing.

On Tuesday, the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs conducted an investigation on the hospital. The results are said to be released soon.

Despite difference both parties said that patient care is their first priority.

"I want to ensure the community that we are going to continue to provide outstanding care for our patients here," said Sinotte.

"We care about our patients and we want to see the best for them and that's why we are here and fighting for them," said DePetro.

The hospital and MNA will continue their bargaining meetings next week with intent to come to a contract agreement.

Below is the full statement from the hospital regarding the MNA intended strike dates:

"This afternoon UPHS - Marquette received notice that the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) plans to commence a strike at our hospital on Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7:00 a.m., concluding on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 6:59 a.m.

Prior to these dates, we have four meetings scheduled for negotiations with the MNA. We will continue to bargain in good faith; however, should it occur, we are fully prepared to handle a strike and ensure there is no interruption in care for our patients and community members.

We are securing fully-qualified staff to replace those who go on strike and are attending to every detail in preparation for this event. As always, delivering quality care and services to our patients will remain our primary focus, and we will not allow anything to stand in the way of providing the best for our community. "