Sault MNA Nurses Authorize Second Strike, Backed by New Strike Pay Benefit

10-day notice will be given before the start of an unfair labor practice strike

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI – Nurses at MyMichigan Medical Center Sault have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a second unfair labor practice strike – this time of indefinite duration – with the backing of a new Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) strike pay benefit to provide financial support. Ten-day notice would be given if a strike is called.

The Soo nurses, who make up a local MNA bargaining unit, held a 5-day ULP strike in April after months of bargaining; negotiation sessions on May 10 and May 29 did not produce an agreement. Their contract expired Dec. 31.

The nurses voted Wednesday and Thursday on the strike authorization.

“MyMichigan executives have done nothing to show they are willing to invest in a contract that values Soo nurses or resolves our unfair labor practice charges,” said Colleen Waucaush, one of the three Sault RNs who make up the MNA bargaining team. “Our union is stronger than ever. We are ready to do whatever it takes to get a fair contract so our hospital has enough nurses to take care of our community safely. MyMichigan executives need to feel the pressure and be held accountable for their actions.”

Sault nurses are seeking a fair contract that will recruit and retain nurses. They say the hospital is frequently short-staffed, to the point of sometimes compromising patient care, because Midland-based MyMichigan pays so little in the Sault.

MyMichigan’s proposals for Sault nurses fall short of fair market value and include non-wage concessions that mean many of the nurses will actually take a pay cut.

The MNA nurses have alleged that MyMichigan has broken federal labor laws multiple times. The National Labor Relations Board is investigating the unfair labor practice charges that MNA has filed, which include accusations that MyMichigan:

•    Tried to coerce the nurses into quitting their union;
•    Illegally surveilled nurses at their informational picket in March, assigning an excessive number of security guards who stood watching them in hospital doorways and continuously circled the event in a van;
•    Is bargaining in bad faith by (a) changing practice by refusing to properly pay nurses who forget to punch in during their shift and (b) refusing to provide information the union needs for negotiations.

The 18th bargaining session is scheduled for Wednesday (June 19).

“Our bargaining team has been transparent with everything that MyMichigan has offered, and nothing has been worth voting on,” said Alexis Laaksonen, RN. “We love taking care of our community and we won’t stop advocating for what our patients need. We’re simply asking that MyMichigan executives properly invest in nurses – not just in equipment and buildings. MyMichigan is not being a good corporate citizen and the Soo community deserves better.”

MNA’s member-elected Board of Directors, acknowledging the changing healthcare climate in which corporations increasingly focus on their bottom line to the detriment of all else, approved the new strike pay benefit this week for any qualifying MNA member.

MNA is the largest union and professional association for registered nurses and healthcare professionals in Michigan and an affiliate of National Nurses United and AFL-CIO.


Contact: Dawn Kettinger; 517-721-9688 (cell)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.