Munson Nurses Ratify Contract
By Beth Milligan | March 25, 2019
Unionized nurses represented by the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) voted this weekend to ratify a three-year contract agreement with Munson Medical Center.
According to releases from both groups, nurses voted Saturday to officially approve the agreement that had been tentatively reached earlier in the week between Munson administration and the MNA. Munson nurses voted 489-439 to unionize in August 2017 and have been bargaining with administrators through the MNA since December 2017.
According to the MNA, terms of the new contract include a 13 percent raise for nurses over the course of the three-year agreement, "which will help to recruit and retain quality RNs." Munson's release stated the wage adjustments "are similar to what nurses have received prior to organizing and comparable to what similarly situated nurses and other professionals who are not in the bargaining unit have been receiving," adding that the hospital "remains committed to paying all employees fairly and appropriately regardless of whether they are represented or unrepresented."
The MNA also said the contract "limits forced overtime, provides nurses a formal structure to address RN staffing levels, and implements new workplace safety procedures that will benefit patients." Improved scheduling standards, an enforceable grievance procedure, and guaranteed health care levels are also guaranteed through the contract, according to the group. Munson stated it had already been committed to avoiding mandatory overtime, "a goal we began working on three years ago when we began recruiting and raising wages to reduce staffing vacancies." The hospital also emphasized that other contract terms were similar to those already provided to employees, including continued tuition reimbursement and professional development and maintenance of "current health insurance and retirement benefits on the same terms that those plans are offered to all employees."
Munson Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications Dianne Michalek said the hospital was "pleased by this (ratification) news and pleased to move beyond these negotiations. Our top priority has always been to ensure our patients receive the highest quality of care. Our nurses, like the rest of the health care team, are critical to that goal."
Nurses also expressed satisfaction with the deal. "We are proud to have achieved a historic contract for our patients and our community," said Shelly DuBois, RN. "Nurses came together to have a voice in our hospital." Added James Walker, RN: "Before we formed our union, we did not have a legitimate voice in decisions that affect quality care. Now, we’ve taken a huge step forward. This is a fair contract that puts patients first."