Local 40 Nurses Ratify Contract Enabling Safer Patient Care
With more than 90 percent support, Local 40 nurses employed at McLaren Macomb hospital avoided a potential strike and ratified an agreement that increases nurse-to-patient staffing ratios throughout the hospital and provides an average 15.5 percent wage increase with $4,000 appreciation and retention bonuses for each nurse.
The unit of nearly 600 registered nurses began bargaining Feb. 1 with the hospital, located in Mount Clemens, Michigan. “A top issue the nurses wanted addressed was improved staffing to ensure quality, safe patient care,” Local 40 President Jeff Morawski said. “Morale in the hospital needs to be improved by seeing an increase
in recruitment and retention of ancillary staff, as well as recognition and appreciation of the tireless effort employees made during the past year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The agreement, which runs through October 2024, increases staffing ratios, and for the first time institutes procedures to quickly expedite to arbitration any staffing disputes and enforce financial penalties if the hospital is found to be under the required staffing matrix.
“After fighting an unprecedented global pandemic and nurses feeling like they had no more to give, they still stood together in solidarity, willing
to strike and put everything they had left on the line to continue to stand up for our patients and our community,” Morawski continued.
“It was a huge day for our Local 40 nurses to negotiate a contract in six months, which has never happened
in our local’s history,” Local 40 Vice President Dina Carlisle said. “That is the
true definition of solidarity and the union difference in the workplace.
“In 2004, we went on strike to get nurse-to-patient ratios in our contract and we were ready to strike to enforce it” she continued. “Now, we believe
we achieved breakthrough contract language that will hold management accountable for staffing more safely.” This enforcement and penalty language could become a model for other unions throughout the country.