Sparrow nurses and health care professionals ratify new contract

Sparrow Hospital nurses and healthcare professionals overwhelmingly voted to ratify their new 3-year contract. The agreement will go into effect immediately. PECSH-MNA represents approximately 2,200 caregivers at Sparrow Hospital across 53 different classifications including nurses, pharmacists, and laboratory scientists.

“We are so proud of what we have accomplished for our patients and our community,” said Karen Hunsaker, RN, and a member of the PECSH-MNA bargaining team. “We believe that this contract will help us provide the highest quality of care.”

Voting was held on December 9 and December 10. Every member of PECSH-MNA (the Professional Employee Council of Sparrow Hospital-Michigan Nurses Association) was eligible to vote.

The contract will set the bar for a new standard of care in the Greater Lansing area. Sparrow is now the only hospital in the region to contractually guarantee fixed nurse-to-patient ratios and to contractually acknowledge a responsibility to honor those ratios irrespective of whether or not there is a pandemic.
Additionally, the contract guarantees that caregivers who are treating a COVID-19 positive or COVID-19 suspected patient will be given an N-95 respirator or equivalent. This provision is especially important because the emergency Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules requiring appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) are set to expire in less than two weeks on December 21.

“This contract makes both caregivers and patients safer,” said Tammy Parsons, RN, and treasurer of PECSH-MNA. “We are proud to lead on this issue and hope that this contract will help pave the way for other hospitals in the state to make similar commitments to caregivers and to the community. The pandemic has been here for almost two years now. Safe staffing and proper PPE need to be treated as an essential requirement, not an optional luxury.”

In addition to the contractual guarantees on staffing levels and PPE, nurses and healthcare professionals were able to win significant raises while not taking any concessions on healthcare premiums or reducing the number of sick days. Sparrow caregivers say that they believe this will help the hospital more effectively recruit and retain nurses and healthcare professionals.

“We believe that this is truly one of the best contracts in the state if not the country,” said Kevin Glaza, a pharmacist at Sparrow Hospital and vice president of PECSH-MNA. “We want to thank our community for their support. Please know that we always advocate for you. We are committed to using our voices and our new contractual rights to continue working to keep our patients and our community safe.”

This press release was provided by the Michigan Nurses Association.