Nurses at ProMedica Hickman Hospital move closer to strike.

ProMedica Charles and Virginia Hickman Hospital 

The Michigan Nurses Association announced on Monday that nurses at ProMedica Charles and Virginia Hickman Hospital will move one step closer to going on strike, as registered nurses (RN) will hold a “practice strike” Tuesday, Jan. 30 outside of the hospital. Nurses say that this is the final warning that ProMedica executives will be receiving. If ProMedica does not begin bargaining in good faith, RNs say they will put out a 10-day notice before beginning an unfair labor practice strike. Negotiations are scheduled for January 31, one day after the practice strike.
“We are unafraid to assert our protected rights and hold ProMedica’s administration accountable for the unfair labor practices they have committed,” said Tracy Webb, RN and president of the Michigan Nurses Association local at the hospital. “We are not just fighting for ourselves. We are also fighting for our community. We know that winning a fair contract that will allow us to recruit and retain nurses is essential for the future of our hospital.”
The “practice strike” will take place across the road from Hickman Hospital, 5763 N. Adrian Hwy., Adrian, from 4:15-5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, when ProMedica MNA RNs and supportive community members will chant and wear red.
The MNA statement says “ProMedica executives continue to demand the creation of a two-tier retirement system and to offer wages that are below what other area hospitals are paying. Additionally, ProMedica executives refuse to turn over financial information that nurses assert they are legally required to provide. The most recently available 990s from December of 2022 show that ProMedica paid its CEO over $5.4 million. The 990s also show that hospital executives receive bonuses based on ‘profitability.’ This particular ProMedica facility has repeatedly netted the system millions in profits, including more than $9.2 million in 2022 and more than $28.8 million in 2021.”
“It feels like too often that hospital executives are treating healthcare like a business rather than focusing on the quality of care,” said Sarah Easler, RN. “Hopefully, our practice strike reminds them that patients should always come before profits. If not, we are prepared to do what it takes.”
In addition to protecting their retirement and trying to improve the recruitment and retention of RNs, nurses are also fighting to improve their safe staffing language to make sure that patients are kept safe every shift. “I have looked after three patients at a time when I should have only been looking after one. I no longer trust ProMedica’s administration to prioritize patients over dollars,” said Webb, a critical care nurse. “We need accountability to keep our patients safe.”
The MNA statement specified that this is not a work stoppage or strike, and all participants will attend outside of their work hours. Picketing will occur without disrupting traffic flow or patient care.
The Michigan Nurses Association is the largest and most effective union for registered nurses and healthcare professionals in Michigan. MNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United and the AFL-CIO.
A response from ProMedica, provided Monday morning by Tausha Moore, associate vice president of strategic communications, states, “The Michigan Nurses Association union has provided ProMedica Hickman Hospital with notice that it plans to hold an informational picket, not a practice strike. It is important to note that the union’s planned action on January 30 is not a strike and does not involve a work stoppage. To state otherwise would be misleading. We have not received a notice from MNA that it plans to strike. If a strike were to occur, our nonprofit hospital would work diligently to ensure our action plans support our commitment to providing safe, high-quality care to the community.
“ProMedica Hickman Hospital leaders have participated in bargaining discussions with MNA this week and made themselves available to continue those discussions this week and early next week as needed. This week, the nonprofit hospital made modifications to the already fair and market-competitive proposal it provided on January 9. We hope the MNA bargaining team shares the modified proposal with its members before it expires today.
“Over the past several months, we have engaged in good-faith bargaining and responded to several data requests. We have provided the financial information that the law requires us to provide, given our bargaining position. MNA also has access to publicly reported financial information.”
 

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