Nurses, University of Michigan ratify new contract after months of negotiations

New contract runs through March 2026

Aerial view of the Michigan Medicine campus in Ann Arbor. (Michigan Medicine)

ANN ARBOR – Nurses at the University of Michigan voted overwhelmingly in favor of ratifying a contract reached with the university after three months of negotiations.

Since July 1, nurses have been working without a contract, holding demonstrations and threatening a work stoppage over alleged unfair labor practices.

The new contract, ratified by members of the Michigan Nurses Association-University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council, will run through March 31, 2026 and is effective immediately.

“This contract provides important investments in nurses and protections for patients that MNA-UMPNC nurses and our community fought hard for over the past six months,” president of MNA-UMPNC Renee Curtis said in a statement. “We’re excited about being able to hold the employer accountable for safe nurse-to-patient ratios and end dangerous mandatory overtime. Strong wage increases and bonuses will help attract and retain the nurses we need to take care of our patients.”

According to MNA-UMPNC, the new contract includes:

  • Enforceable nurse-to-patient ratios that vary by unit to ensure safe patient care, with fines possible if the university does not comply.
  • An end to mandatory overtime except in select emergency situations.
  • As part of the $273 million compensation package, wage increases of 7.5% in 2022, 6% in 2023, 5%in 2024 and 4% in 2025 (total of 22.5% over the life of the contract), with a separate new wage scale for nurse practitioners.
  • A $5,000 ratification bonus and a $2,000 retention bonus.

“We are grateful that our nurses choose to work and build their careers at University of Michigan Health,” CEO of Michigan Medicine and dean of the U-M Medical School, Marschall Runge, said in a statement. “We are pleased to offer a very competitive package that recognizes the value our nurses bring to our patients and our organization.”

According to U-M, its health system is on track to break records this year for nurse recruitment. In total, 1,058 nurses were hired between July 2021 and May 2022. With a national average vacancy rate of 17%, Michigan Medicine’s current vacancy rate stands at 5%, according to the health system.

“Our exemplary nurses are a valued and crucial part of our world class healthcare team,” chief nurse executive Nancy May said in a statement. “We believe this generous package will help us continue to retain and recruit excellent nurses. We look forward to working with our nursing community as we continue our efforts to bring top-ranked healthcare to our patients and communities across the state and beyond.”

“I’m grateful to our bargaining team for fighting so hard for what nurses and patients need, and I was proud to join my colleagues in voting yes on this contract,” MNA-UMPNC member Anne Jackson said in a statement.  “This makes the University of Michigan an even better place to work and provide the best patient care possible for all our patients.”