ANN ARBOR – As registered nurses continue to put pressure on the University of Michigan to give fair contracts, the Michigan Nurses Association has launched a fresh campaign calling on U-M to "prioritize patient care over profits."
The University of Michigan Health System, recently rebranded as Michigan Medicine, is mulling cuts across the system despite a surplus of more than $100 million in the 2018 fiscal year.
On Wednesday, the MNA is starting an ad campaign on television, radio and online to make their message clear.
"What’s significantly different now is that they’ve rebranded themselves as Michigan Medicine, and have become a very corporate entity, and have seemed to change their focus away from taking care of patients and are more interested in money,” U-M nurse Anne Jackson -- who is featured in the advertisements -- said in a press release.
According to the press release, nurses want the university to:
- Maintain current staffing levels and safe RN workloads so that every patient gets the highest quality of care
- Be transparent about staffing levels because patients have a right to know
- Allow nurses to choose their own representatives on workplace committees so that they can voice patient safety concerns
- Ensure that the Victors Care program, concierge medicine for those who can afford to pay $3,600 extra per year, does not create a two-tier system with longer wait times or less access for other U of M patients
- Stop demanding unnecessary retirement concessions from nurses
"Nurses will not rest until we negotiate a fair contract that guarantees safe staffing to protect our patients," RN and chair of the University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council, an affiliate of the MNA, Katie Oppenheim said in a press release. "In addition to making the public aware of our contract fight with this commercial, we continue to pursue unfair labor practice charges against the University. As nurses, we will do everything that we can to advocate for quality care."
Michigan Medicine's response
For its part, Michigan Medicine maintains it has been negotiating a contract agreement in good faith, and that many of the "priority negotiation issues have been resolved."
"The University has offered the nurses a compensation package that includes competitive across-the-board increases of at least 3 percent and market based adjustments to wages, retirement, as well as items important to nurse practitioners, such as designated administrative time, holiday pay and shift differentials.
"Importantly, the University has committed to maintaining current staffing levels. The nurses’ union has acknowledged that our staffing levels are excellent and the best in the state. Our nurses’ scores from a recent internal survey reflect that they rate our staffing positively relative to their ability to care for our patient and family needs." - Michigan Medicine
To check out the ad campaign, visit uofmwatch.org. Patients are also able share their experiences on the website.
About the Michigan Nurses Association
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.