MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Certain technologists at U.P. Health System Marquette voted today to form a union with the Michigan Nurses Association.

The vote was 93% yes in a 159-13 count.

“By voting to form a union, we have won a voice, and we want to use that voice to advocate for our community,” said Katlyn Lafrinere, a cardiovascular radiologic technologist. “We are ready to speak up for each other and for what our patients need.”   

Three facilities of healthcare workers in the Upper Peninsula have voted to unionize with the Michigan Nurses Association since the start of the pandemic. Nurses at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital and healthcare professionals at the Chippewa County Health Department both have successfully voted to unionize.

“The past year of COVID crisis has really brought us together and shown us how much stronger we are when we are united,” said Kerri Beckman, a medical technologist. “We all need each other to keep moving forward. With a union, we will be able to retain quality employees to make sure that we can always provide the kind of patient care our community deserves.”    

The newly unionized Marquette techs will join approximately 400 registered nurses at UPHS Marquette in the Michigan Nurses Association.

“We are thrilled to welcome techs at UPHS Marquette into our union,” said Jamie Brown, RN, president of the Michigan Nurses Association. “We know that we are strongest when we are united together.”   

“We are so excited that the techs at our hospital have won a collective voice,” said Stephanie DePetro, RN, vice president of the Michigan Nurses Association and president of the local bargaining unit of MNA nurses at UPHS Marquette. “MNA nurses and techs will not be afraid to speak up together to advocate for the well-being and safety of our patients.”  

Negotiations for their first contract are expected to begin imminently. The contract for nurses will expire in less than a year. In the past, nurses from UPHS have gone on strike during contract negotiations. Both nurses and techs say they hope that will not occur during their respective contract negotiations.