MI Nurses Association files charges against UPHS-Marquette, claims violated federal labor law

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – *Local 3 News has reached out to UPHS-Marquette for comment. The hospital says they will research this and respond with what information they can provide.*

The Michigan Nurses Association on Monday filed three charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that UPHS-Marquette has violated federal labor law through its lack of transparency.  

The association says UPHS-Marquette has refused to provide a complete inventory of PPE – gloves and masks — to nurses despite repeated requests. They go on to say the hospital has provided the number of days left they have of PPE without sharing how much PPE they expect to use each day, making the number essentially meaningless. Their claim also states that nurses were told to the state of Michigan’s website even though it does not include the specifics about PPE RNs were requesting.

“This is a matter of basic safety. As Michigan and neighboring states begin to open up, we need to know whether we are prepared to handle a second wave,” said Suzette Hantz, a UPHS-Marquette RN. “There is no good reason for management to hide this vital information from front-line workers.”

The UPHS Marquette RN Staff Council/MNA is an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association.

The Michigan Nurses Association believes that UPHS-Marquette also violated both the policy of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Labor Relations Act by improperly redacting OSHA logs, prompting a second charge. Nurses also filed a third charge against UPHS-Marquette for its lack of financial transparency.

“Management’s disrespect of front-line nurses is unacceptable,” said Maradie Milkey, RN. “This shows the problem with having a hospital that is run by a for-profit corporation. They seem to care more about silencing RNs than working with us to protect the community.”

The Michigan Nurses Association says UPHS-Marquette executives have refused to disclose how much money in grants they have received from the federal government while saying that they can’t agree to nurses’ COVID specific requests, such as for additional COVID-related paid time off, because it is “financially impossible.”

In an interview with Local 3 News, Gregory Kerwin, a registered nurse in Marquette and member of the Michigan Nurses Union added spoke on his frustrations about the situation.

“I just want to know how much PPE we have available immediately and what is in the pipeline so that we can anticipate needs,” said Kerwin. “I want to know who is getting sick and why so that I can plan better for coming in contact with the public in the ER. Honestly, I want to know are we receiving funds from the federal government? And if we are, where are those funds going? Because we don’t see a lot of it in the emergency room, in the recovery room, in the ICU. We’re not seeing the effects of any additional funding that’s coming forward.”

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