UPDATE: Lock-out at UPHS ‘not happening,’ nurses to return to work Tuesday

UPDATE — Friday, October 6th at 8:11 P.M. ET

The nurses have released their own statement and are planning on returning to work after the strike ends Saturday morning, hours after UPHS — Marquette released one saying they will not lock nurses out.

Scott Balko, Operating Room RN and President of the UPHS Marquette RN Staff Council/MNA said the following:

“No one knows our patients or our community as well as Marquette nurses. From the beginning RNs and community members have called on Duke LifePoint to invest in full-time permanent safe staffing levels. 

Consistent with correspondence received by nurses from Duke LifePoint, nurses will be prepared to return to work on Saturday at the conclusion of the strike.

Nurses thank everyone who turned out to the picket line or otherwise showed solidarity. We have felt so much support from our town, the UP, and across the state during the last forty-eight hours. The strength that our neighbors lent us will be used to continue to advocate for patients over hospital profits.”

MARQUETTE — A statement released from UP Health System — Marquette is addressing rumors that the hospital is taking preemptive action to prevent the nurses from returning to work when the strike is over, or will “lock-out” nurses who try to return to work after striking. According to the hospital, that is not what is happening, but the replacement nurses are expected to be employed for a few more days.

The statement says that a minimum of five days is required to secure the staffing needs created by the nurses strike. These replacement nurses will be staffing the hospital from October 5th to October 9th. This means that the UPHS nurses on strike will be allowed to return to work as usual on Tuesday, October 10th.

The statement reads as follows:

“UPHS – Marquette has been made aware of rumors regarding a “lock-out” at the hospital. This is inaccurate, and we would like to clarify with the community.

A ‘lock-out’ is a situation that occurs when an employer takes preemptive action to prevent employees from working. This is not happening at UPHS – Marquette.

As previously shared, we retained a nationally respected staffing agency to secure highly qualified replacement nurses during the MNA’s declared two-day work stoppage. A minimum commitment of five days is required to secure this level of nursing coverage, which therefore means we expect to be fully staffed with replacement nurses Saturday, Sunday and Monday – Oct. 7, 8, and 9. After these dates, our regular nursing staff will be back at work as usual. 

We have made numerous efforts to notify our nurses that we may be fully staffed on these dates both prior to the work stoppage and since its commencement Thursday morning, and we will continue to do so until staffing returns to normal following the work stoppage. 

We want our team back at work and will be happy when they return. In the meantime, we will continue to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of the high quality, safe and compassionate care that our patients and community members expect and deserve.”