U of M nurses to picket for safe patient care, fair contract

More than 1,000 University of Michigan nurses and community allies will hold an informational picket on Saturday, July 16, to call attention to the nurses’ fight for safe staffing amid an expired contract.

The Michigan Nurses Association-University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council (MNA-UMPNC) represents about 6,200 registered nurses throughout the health system. The nurses have been working without a contract since July 1.

University administrators have so far refused to agree to reasonable proposals that put patients’ health and safety first. Instead, the administration has offered:

  • No solutions to end dangerous, chronic understaffing.
  • More than 100 concessions, including increasing mandatory overtime, new restrictions on how nurses can use PTO (paid time off) and a more punitive attendance policy.
  • Compensation that doesn’t keep up with the rate of inflation and won’t recruit and retain skilled nurses.

The University of Michigan regents hold the contract with MNA-UMPNC. More than 100 nurses and allies attended the regents meeting last month to raise concerns about patient safety and the hospital’s staffing crisis.

More than 4,000 MNA-UMPNC nurses have signed a petition calling for an end to dangerous understaffing through enforceable limits on patient assignments (RN-to-patient workload ratios), an end to unsafe forced overtime, and competitive wages that recruit and retain nurses and outpace inflation.

Nurses have cited more than 800 instances of patient safety concerns this year, filing documentation with management.

“Nurses are united in advocating for our patients,” said Renee Curtis, RN, president of MNA-UMPNC. “The patient safety incidents that are happening in our hospital because of long-term understaffing are totally unacceptable. We’re grateful for all the community support and we know the public understands that our working conditions are their care conditions. We’re going to stand strong to get what patients and nurses need.”

Note: The picket is not a strike or work stoppage. All nurses participating are off duty. Nurses who are working will wear red on their shift in solidarity.

          Details of the informational picket on Saturday, July 16, are as follows:

10 a.m.: Nurses and allies gather at Fuller Park field #7, Ann Arbor

10:20 a.m.: Speakers

11 a.m.: Nurses and allies begin informational picket around the University Hospital

Allies from around the state will be coming to show support for the nurses. Allies can sign up at www.minurses.org/picketally.

This press release was provided by the Michigan Nurses Association.