Here are answers to a few more frequently asked questions.
Q: What does the work stoppage authorization vote mean? Is it important that I participate? A: A work stoppage authorization is one of the most powerful ways that our members can hold Michigan Medicine accountable for what the Union believes are violations of your rights as workers. In order for us to truly hear the voices of every member it is paramount that as many members vote as are able to ensure that any call to action is reflective of the voices of the overwhelming majority of all of our bargaining unit members.
Q: What does the Unfair Labor Practice and lawsuit mean? A: MNA-UMPNC filed the lawsuit seeking an outside court to compel Michigan Medicine to bargain in good faith over workload ratios. It is the position of the Union that Management has an obligation to bargain workload issues with us because they directly impact our working conditions, the safety of our jobs and the care that we provide.
Q: Does this lawsuit impact the last proposal made by U-M Health? A: It is our hope that the lawsuit will force our employer to engage in good faith bargaining and make meaningful proposals as a result. At the end of the day, however, the continued collective solidarity of all bargaining unit members is our best way to show Michigan Medicine that their current proposal is unacceptable. All of us continuing to stand together and fight is the best way for us to convince Management that their current concession filled contract proposals are not the path that will lead to a ratification in its current form.
Q: Is U-M Health refusing to bargain over nurses’ workload? A: Michigan Medicine has demanded that the Union withdraw its proposals on workload ratios multiple times. We are continuing to pursue workload ratios through negotiations because we believe that they directly impact our working conditions, our safety at work and the safety of the care we provide.
Q: Why does U-M Health not support workload ratios? A: Management may tell our members that workload ratios limit their flexibility, but in the current proposals offered by UMPNC, we are fighting for basic standards of safe workload assignments that every employer should desire to meet or exceed. The Union has made no proposal prohibiting Management from staffing up when there is a need. When Management states it needs flexibility, what they are actually saying is that they want the ability to make nurses handle too many patients at once, so that management can run our units short staffed, increasing the safety risks to staff and our patients, and ultimately endangering our nursing licenses.
Q: Will the lawsuit disrupt contract negotiations? A: The Union will continue to be ready and available to negotiate with Michigan Medicine week in and week out just as we have since March 15 of this year. We have bargained in good faith without break for more than 5 months and will continue to do so until we have a contract to bring back to our members.
Please stay up to date on other FAQs at mna-umpnc.org/bargaining.