UPHS – Marquette nurses prepared to set dates for another strike

MARQUETTE — The nurses at UPHS – Marquette are prepared to set dates for a second strike over contract negotiations with Duke LifePoint if the two parties do not agree to a fair tentative contract by Thursday, May 24th.

According to a MI Nurses Association press release, the nurses and Duke LifePoint have bargaining sessions on May 22nd, 23rd and 24th. If a tentative agreement has not been reached by the end of the day on Thursday, the UPHS – Marquette RN Staff Council says they are fully prepared to give notice and set a strike date.

Scott Balko, Operating Room RN and President of the UPHS – Marquette Staff Council said in a statement “…After more than a year of negotiations, including three outstanding unfair labor practice charges, we are disappointed that administrators still seem unprepared to make specific proposals at the bargaining table. If at the end of the day on Thursday we have not reached a tentative contract agreement, we are fully prepared to give notice and set a strike date. Nurse understaffing continues to jeopardize patient safety. Any tentative agreement must ensure that Marquette nurses do not take cuts to health insurance and retirement; such cuts would make it even harder to attract and retain enough qualified RNs.”

The two parties have been in contract negotiations since April 18th, 2017. A two-month contract extension expired on July 28th of that year, and the UPHS – Marquette nurses have been working without a contract since.

The nurses held a strike on October 5th and 6th, 2017 to highlight patient safety concerns. A vote authorizing the nurse-leaders to call a second strike was held on April 20th and 21st, 2018.

The elected nurse bargaining team has the authority to call a strike, and by law, they are required to give the hospital ten days of notice.