U of M Nurses Plan Informational Picket to Demand Patient-Centered Contract

For Immediate Release
Contact: Dawn Kettinger dawn.kettinger@minurses.org;  (517) 721-9688

RNs won’t be rushed into agreement that values financial gain, not patient care

ANN ARBOR (MI) – Members of the University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council (UMPNC)/Michigan Nurses Association have scheduled a July informational picket amid administration’s effort to rush them into a contract agreement that shortchanges patient care even as the university enjoys a $103 million surplus amid massive growth.

“While we all want to reach an agreement before the contract expires, nurses won’t be bullied into accepting a plan that prevents us from providing the great care that every patient needs and deserves,” said Katie Oppenheim, RN, chair of UMPNC/MNA. “Michigan Medicine seems focused on growing across the state and piling up a surplus on the backs of nurses, while ignoring our patient care priorities. As advocates for our patients, we are urging Michigan Medicine to take our concerns seriously.”

The University of Michigan Health System, also known as Michigan Medicine, reported Thursday that it is sitting on a $103 million surplus for fiscal year 2018, from nearly $4.3 billion in revenue.

UMPNC/MNA, which represents nearly 6,000 registered nurses throughout the health system, has been in contract negotiations since January 20. The current contract expires on June 30, and nurses have been at the bargaining table five days a week recently in hopes of reaching an acceptable agreement.

UMPMC/MNA’s elected bargaining team scheduled the informational picket after administrators continued to refuse to agree to maintain proper RN staffing and give nurses a real voice in staffing. In addition, administrators suddenly proposed unjustified cuts to nurses’ retirements and paid time off despite the health system’s strong finances and growth.

The administration also tried to silence nurses’ voices at work, including banning nurses from wearing shirts that express unity; UMPNC/MNA has filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission that is pending.

The picket will be held on Saturday, July 14. The time and location will be announced later. An informational picket is not a strike or a work stoppage. Nurses will participate on their own time and the event will not affect patient care.

“We’re already hearing from tons of community members who want to join our picket because they know that nurses are the heart of Michigan Medicine,” said Barbara Van Kainen, RN, a bargaining team member. “Nurses feel an obligation to keep our health system focused on our patients and our community. That’s what we’ve been fighting for at the bargaining table all along; whether we can achieve that before the contract expires is up to Michigan Medicine administrators.”


The Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) is the largest, most effective union for registered nurses in Michigan, advocating for nurses and their patients at the State Capitol, in the community, and at the bargaining table.


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