Nurses extend contract negotiations with University of Michigan Health System
The University of Michigan Health System's 4,000-member nurses union will go to work Friday without a new contract, though talks will continue through July 10.
Key differences remain to signing a new deal to replace the contract that expires Thursday, officials said. They include health insurance, retirement, overtime and paid time off usage, according to the Michigan Nurses Association, the collective bargaining representative for U-M's nurses.
University of Michigan Health System photo
Members of the union include staff nurses and advanced practice nurses such as nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives. The average UMHS staff nurses pay rate is $33.74 per hour or $70,179 annually, according to the health system.
The average UMHS benefits contribution to members of the nurses union is $15,852, including $8,217 for health insurance. The monthly health plan contribution paid by the average full-time MNA member is $127.47.
The group is the largest union of its kind in the state, according to the MNA.
Because the two sides won't reach an agreement Thursday, nurses will continue to work under their expired contract, said Ann Kettering Sincox, a spokesperson for the MNA.
After that, different scenarios could emerge.
First, it’s negotiations could stretch on until differences are resolved. Another option: a state mediator could be called in to help the parties resolve points of contention.
If talks break down, a strike would require a majority vote from union membership, Sincox said. And the health system would be given 10 days advance notice so temporary nurses could be found.
Nurses have gone on strike twice in the past, in 1981 and 1989, after discussions deteriorated. The University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council first collectively bargained in 1976, according to the group's website.
The negotiations will not impact patient care, UMHS and MNA officials said.
The current contract for nurses was ratified in 2008. The two sides have been negotiating a new contract since April.