Thousands of U of M nurses, allies picket for safe patient care, fair contract

ANN ARBOR – Thousands of University of Michigan nurses and allies held an informational picket today to call attention to the nurses’ fight for safe staffing amid an expired contract.

The Michigan Nurses Association-University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council (MNA-UMPNC) represents about 6,200 registered nurses throughout the health system. The nurses have been working without a contract since July 1.

“Nurses are united in advocating for our patients,” said Renee Curtis, RN, president of MNA-UMPNC. “The patient safety incidents that are happening in our hospital because of long-term understaffing are totally unacceptable. We’re grateful for all the community support and we know the public understands that our working conditions are their care conditions. We’re going to stand strong to get what patients and nurses need.”

University administrators have so far refused to agree to reasonable proposals that put patients’ health and safety first. Instead, the administration has offered:

  • No solutions to end dangerous, chronic understaffing.
  • More than 100 concessions, including increasing mandatory overtime, new restrictions on how nurses can use PTO (paid time off) and a more punitive attendance policy.
  • Compensation that doesn’t keep up with the rate of inflation and won’t recruit and retain skilled nurses.

The University of Michigan regents hold the contract with MNA-UMPNC. More than 100 nurses and allies attended the regents meeting last month to raise concerns about patient safety and the hospital’s staffing crisis.

More than 4,000 MNA-UMPNC nurses have signed a petition calling for an end to dangerous understaffing through enforceable limits on patient assignments (RN-to-patient workload ratios), an end to unsafe forced overtime, and competitive wages that recruit and retain nurses and outpace inflation.

Nurses have cited more than 800 instances of patient safety concerns this year, filing documentation with management.

The picket was not a strike or work stoppage. All nurses participating were off duty. Nurses who were working wore red on their shift in solidarity.

The Michigan Nurses Association is the largest union and professional association representing registered nurses and healthcare professionals in Michigan. MNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United and the AFL-CIO.


Contact: Dawn Kettinger, 517-721-9688

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