SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (WJMN) – A cooperative and collaborative effort to value the work of union nurses. Those are some of the ways the latest deal is described. The Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) ratified a three-year contract Wednesday night with War Memorial Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie.
The deal includes raises, and an expanded voice for nursing in making decisions about staffing levels.
“We are so proud of the contract we ratified as a union and believe it will benefit nurses, patients, and our whole community,” said Elena Lehocky, RN, president of the nurses’ union at War Memorial Hospital. “We hope that this will foster an environment of mutual respect and cooperation that will make our hospital one of the best places for RNs to work for years to come.”
In year one of the contract, wages for every nurse will go up by an average of about 6%. Along with increased pay, nurses will get added language in their contracts to prevent against fatigue.
“As the Chief Nursing Officer, it was my pleasure to be able to work collaboratively with the staff RNs,” said Marla Bunker, CNO at War Memorial Hospital. “Registered Nurses are one of the most important professional caregivers on the front lines caring for our patients – we appreciate and value their commitment to high quality and safe care.”
Senior Director of Human Resources at War Memorial Hospital, Susan Sliger, said: “It was a true cooperative approach from agreeing on articles to review to discussion of article amendments. WMH management is proud to have our professional Registered Nurses working side-by-side with us to provide safe and quality patient care.”
MNA officials noted in a release that this negotiations process at War Memorial took place in just a few weeks, compared to other negotiations at for-profit health systems which have taken many months.
“As nurses, all we want is to be able to look after our patients safely and to be treated with respect,” said Jamie Brown, RN, president of the Michigan Nurses Association. “We hope that other hospitals will follow the example set by War Memorial administrators in choosing to work collaboratively with us. If not, we are not afraid to hold them accountable.”