UM nurses rat­ify la­bor con­tract

Agree­ment gives 3-4% raises and keeps health ben­e­fits

The Detroit News - - Metro - BY CHARLES E. RAMIREZ The Detroit News

The union rep­re­sent­ing more than 4,000 nurses at the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan has rat­i­fied a new la­bor con­tract, of­fi­cials said Thurs­day.

The news comes about 12 days af­ter the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan Pro­fes­sional Nurse Coun­cil and the uni­ver­sity said they had reached a ten­ta­tive agree­ment on a three-year con­tract. It also comes af­ter months of ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“This rat­i­fi­ca­tion is good news for the en­tire Michi­gan Medicine com­mu­nity: our nurses, our pa­tients and all of our staff.,” David Spahlinger, pres­i­dent of the UM Health Sys­tem and ex­ec­u­tive vice dean for clin­i­cal af­fairs of the UM Med­i­cal School, said in a state­ment. “Our top pri­or­ity is to en­sure our pa­tients re­ceive the high­est qual­ity of care. Our nurses are crit­i­cal to that goal, and this con­tract re­flects our in­ter­est in mov­ing for­ward to­gether. We be­lieve this agree­ment will help us re­tain and re­cruit ex­cel­lent nurses.”

Union of­fi­cials said they are proud of the con­tract, which they reached with the uni­ver­sity on Sept. 28.

“Be­cause we stuck to­gether, we won staffing lan­guage with en­force­able com­mit­ments and pro­ce­dures,” Katie Op­pen­heim, a nurse and UMPNC chair­woman, said in a state­ment. “Nurses will have an ef­fec­tive means of en­sur­ing that staffing de­ci­sions are al­ways based on pa­tient care.”

The nurses over­whelm­ingly voted to rat­ify the ten­ta­tive con­tract Oct. 7-10, ac­cord­ing to the union. It went into ef­fect im­me­di­ately.

Uni­ver­sity of­fi­cials said the new con­tract has salary raises of 3 to 4 per­cent. In the past four years, raises were about 1 per­cent.

It also in­cludes:

In­creased fund­ing for tu­ition re­im­burse­ment and pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment that will en­sure main­te­nance of nurs­ing Mag­net sta­tus, the high­est honor in nurs­ing granted to just 6 per­cent of U.S. hos­pi­tals.

Main­te­nance of cur­rent health in­sur­ance and re­tire­ment ben­e­fits

Changes to elim­i­nate pay­roll sys­tem in­ac­cu­ra­cies

Re­duc­tions in manda­tory over­time

Paid ma­ter­nal/parental leave pro­gram that in­cludes six weeks of paid leave for phys­i­o­log­i­cal re­cov­ery from birth of a child and six weeks of paid parental leave to em­ploy­ees af­ter a birth, adop­tion or fos­ter care and guardian­ship, which matches ben­e­fits re­cently granted to non-union Uni­ver­sity em­ploy­ees.

“This is a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone, and we look for­ward to work­ing with our nurses as we con­tinue our ef­forts to bring the best health­care pos­si­ble to our pa­tients and com­mu­ni­ties across the state,” Spahlinger said.

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