TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. — Over 1,000 nurses at Munson Medical Center have won the right to form their union. Over the course of a two-day election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board on August 9 and 10, RNs voted for representation from the Michigan Nurses Association.
“Nurses came together because we want a strong, united voice to advocate for our patients,” said Donna Heinrich, critical care float pool RN. “This is the first step towards contract to make the care that we offer to our community even better.”
The election certification was delayed for a week while the National Labor Relations Board considered adding challenged ballots. But after review, the employer agreed that many of the uncounted ballots were cast by nurses who were ineligible to be in the union. The remaining challenged ballots are fewer than the number needed to affect the election results.
“As a union, we will be able to negotiate for the fair wages and benefits needed to attract and retain highly-qualified nurses to Traverse City and northwestern Michigan,” said Amy Aebig, maternity RN. “When RNs are treated with respect, patients and management win as well.”
“It doesn’t matter how you voted in the election. Our union is for all Munson nurses,” said James Walker, cardiothoracic RN. “We look forward to seeing all of our coworkers at our meetings as we set our priorities and prepare to negotiate.”
The newly unionized RNs will move quickly to elect nurse-leaders to their negotiations team and look forward to bargaining in good faith with Munson management towards a first contract.
“Congratulations to Munson nurses! The way that these RNs prevailed will inspire nurses everywhere to speak up and take collective action,” John Karebian, Executive Director of the Michigan Nurses Association. “Wherever nurses take a stand on behalf of patients, the Michigan Nurses Association will be there.”
Munson RNs are not alone in seeking out a voice for their profession and their patients. The Michigan Nurses Association represents over 13,000 nurses across the state and receives frequent requests from nurses interested in forming a union.