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Hundreds of nurses rally in Traverse City amid contract negotiations

Hundreds of nurses rally in Traverse City amid contract negotiations

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- Hundreds of nurses rallied in Traverse City calling for a fair contract that will help attract and maintain skilled nurses at Munson Medical Center.

This as negotiations are ongoing for the nurses first contract after voting to become a union about a year ago.

It was called a Rally for our Patients.

“This isn’t just about money we are doing this for the community,” said Munson RN Shannon Gillespie. “We think that our voices can be valued for our patients and healthcare is driven throughout the hospital.”

The nurses say it's taken too long to get a response on their economic proposal, but administrators say that is common for negotiations.

“There’s not a textbook as far as, ‘hey we’re right on track’ or ‘this is slow’,” said nursing practice and professional development Director, Jennifer Standfest. “I think the good news is we continue to meet regularly, we continue to have really thoughtful conversations and both sides are participating in good faith and we make progress as we should be.”

Among the speakers was Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers who recognizes the difficulty of affordable living in Traverse City.

“To me it’s a no brainer to support all of you so that you can stay and live here in Traverse City and take care of people like me, my father, my grandparents, everybody else,” said Carruthers.

Administrators say there are many factors to consider when making a contract, but they want what’s best for the entire hospital, including the nurses.

“So we can come to some shared perspective and move forward as a great organization we’ve been for a long time,” said Standfest.

“We all live in the community, we work here, we want the best for everybody,” said Munson RN Cindy Rydahl.

The union also filed unfair labor practice charges against the administration for not bargaining in good faith.

The administration says they continue to negotiate and have the next meeting set up next week.

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