Nurses union pickets Munson Healthcare Manistee

The union and hospital have been negotiating the new contract three year contract with some changes, since October.

MANISTEE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) — Nurses with the Michigan Nurses Association picketed outside Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital Thursday afternoon.

“Were having some issues in negotiation,” said Kari Zoscsak, an ER nurse and President of the local bargaining unit with the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA). "We don’t think Munson Healthcare is being fair to our nurses and we are concerned that we won’t be able to retain and recruit enough nurses where we are able to provide safe patient care.”

The three year contract nurses at the hospital were under, expired December 31, 2017.

The union and hospital have been negotiating a new three year contract since October.

Right now the nurses are still working under the terms of their old, expired contract.

“The big ticket items are always the retirement package, the heath insurance costs, and wages,” Zoscsak said.

“In those negotiations we have put a good faith contract together and there are obviously some differences,” explained Tina Miller, the Chief Nursing Officer with the hospital.

Hospital officials say they are trying to work with the nurses on the contract, but believe what the hospital is proposing is fair.

“Manistee hospital’s contract is competitive in the region for pay and benefits,” Miller said. “We continue to bargain in good faith and sit down with the members, our main goal is to provide patient care and have safe staff.”

Union members say the main push for a fair and negotiated contract, is to ensure there are enough nurses for safe-staffing and a consistent patient-to-nurse ratios.

“Patients are the focus and the center on what we do here,” Zoscsak said. “We want Munson Healthcare to come back to the table and offer something that is fair and equal for our employees, we want to keep this a hometown hospital with local nurses here."

Dozens of members from a handful of other unions in the area joined the nurses in Thursdays picket. Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) also marched and chanted with the nurses with the MNA.

What is now the Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital was previously West Shore Medical Center.

In 2016, the West Shore Medical Center Board of Trustees came to an agreement with Munson Healthcare system and sold the facility to Munson. Munson Healthcare took over in April of 2017.

Munson Healthcare has locations in nine communities throughout the state.

The hospital in Manistee has been unionized since the 1970s.

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