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Posted on Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

University of Michigan nurses union plans informational picket over contract negotiations

By Juliana Keeping

The University of Michigan nurses union is making plans to picket, even as halted negotiations are scheduled to resume Aug. 3 and nurses are staying on the job without a contract.

But in the mean time, the 4,000-member union has called a general membership meeting on Tuesday to discuss the contract negotiations, which stalled after the two sides failed to reach an agreement earlier this month.

Some nurses are wearing red buttons and donning red scrubs to support for the union. And a petition is circulating to support “Safe patient care,” said Katie Oppenheim, chair of the University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council.

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University of Michigan nurses are making plans to picket. Meanwhile, stalled contract negotiations between the University of Michigan Health System and the 4,000-member union will continue Aug. 3.

“To continue to have world-class nursing, we have to be able to continue to keep nurses here who are able to do the work of the most complicated patients,” Oppenheim said. “We have to have both work conditions and work-life balance conditions that make people want to work here.”

The union has not given notice to U-M that it is planning an informational picket on Aug. 13, but it will do so shortly, Oppenheim said.

The petition, she said, will be forwarded to the U-M Board of Regents in time for its September meeting.

A union official told in June the nurses were being asked to take what they characterized as major concessions in the areas of health insurance, retirement, overtime and paid time off usage, according to the Michigan Nurses Association, the collective bargaining representative for U-M's nurses. Oppenheim said Monday issues involving these areas remain unsettled between the union and the employer.

The current contract for nurses was ratified in 2008 and expired July 1, though the nurses continue to work under it. The two sides had been negotiating a new contract since April and took a break from the bargaining table July 9.

The union wants to educate its members about the contract negotiations and take feedback on the employer’s proposals at the meeting tomorrow, said Ann Kettering Sincox, an MNA spokesperson.

“The nurses are demanding a contract that will ensure the highest quality of patient care while respecting their professional practice, hard work, dedication and experience,” Sincox said via e-mail.

General membership meetings will be held throughout the day Tuesday at the IBEW Local 252, 7920 Jackson Road, according to the union’s website.

The union is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO and a member of National Nurses United.

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 nurse's pay rate is $33.74 per hour or $70,179 annually, according to the health system.

Juliana Keeping covers general assignment and health and the environment for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter



Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 3:23 a.m.

I would like to respond to all those unhappy with our salary. If you re read this you will see that is the amount the University says is average. Sure it is if you count the upper 20% or so who are masters Or PhD prepares nurses who make 150-200k per year. For staff nurses (direct patient care) the average is 45-50k per year. I'll show you my contract. I won't make 70k until I have been a nurse for 20 years or more. Plus, the majority of is work 3 12 hour shifts so in reality make even less because the hospital prefers this. Did you also know that we have to rotate to work days and nights? No other profession does this. Do you put your life at risk by caring for patients that have communicable diseases? We often suffer abuse from patients and families as they "take their stress out" yet we come back because we CARE. I just hope those who are calling us crybabies never find themselves in need of our services. Because only then will you truely see what giving is all about. Physicians may have knowledge but they are NOT the ones holding your hand when you are sick and dying. We are.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 8:10 p.m.

Not only are the compensated well, most of them only have a 2 year degree,


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 4:14 p.m.

Ah huh. Teachers are in constant contact with communicable diseases. So are police, fire, bus drivers and custodians and anyone else who works with public on a daily basis. Sorry but you do not have my sympathies here. By the way holding my hand while dying? Might not be a nurse. But maybe a loved one? Police also work 12 hour shifts and so do Fire officials. Again no sympathies to the nurses or doctors. Sorry, strike if you must, but again, must be nice to make that much.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 1:08 a.m.

Nurses are compensated well. They are certainly not over worked at the University of Michigan. It is time for these spoiled brats to take a look around and see what is happening in Michigan. Do you really think we care that they want to raise your insurance premium from six dollars a month to forty dollars? Just like the autoworkers, greed has caught up with this field. Your neighboring Border Books just let 100,000 people go, yet you have the nerve to stomp your feet and ask for more. I hope you do strike and lose your jobs. Lets get some people in there who feel fortunate to have a job.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 4:10 p.m.

Nurses are compensated well. Doctors are compensated well. Teachers are compensated well. Police and fire officials are compensated well. Guess if you work in the public sector you are paid well, get good health insurance and good retirement to boot. Guess this is on the backs of those who do not get paid much and have to pay more for taxes to keep our insurance from going up and up. Thanks for the reminder that some of us can't afford insurance because it is too expensive to afford.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 2:15 p.m.

Believe it or not, NO one wants to strike. We would like the U to come back to the table and negotiate on all the issues, as is required when you bargain a contract. Both sides get a little, both sides give a little. I am concerned about a decrease in overtime incentives, especially on weekends and holidays, because if I end up having more than 2 patient in a Critical Care ICU, where my patients are on life support and could crash at any minute, they will not get 100% of the care they deserve. I don't want to walk out on anyone. But if we give on this issue, that's the way it will be from NOW ON. Also, the University has 10 days notice by law to bring in scabs. Hopefully they can get enough. If not, the strike will be over in mere minutes.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 11:42 a.m.

Sorry Edith, I don't buy it. If the RN's are so concerned about patient safety, why would you strike?


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 4:13 a.m.

We aren't asking for more. Not at all. The fact of the matter is, there is MORE on the table than health care premiums and wage increases. There are a LOT of issues still to be bargained on, including incentives for working extra in order to decrease nurse-to-patient ratios (which as we all know decreases mortality rates and increases patient safety). The university REFUSES to negotiate on these issues, and that's not right. This is supposed to be a negotiation, not just one side storming in telling us what to do.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 8:16 p.m.

The right wing agenda really has become too humorous for words. CEO's and other highly paid individuals hire compensation consultants all the time to do what union reps do, negotiate pay. When CEO's don't get their way or results they promise they are paid to go away, sometimes to the tune of millions of dollars (see govt employee Rich Rodriquez, or Home Depot CEO Steve Nardelli etc ). As far as I can tell not a single righty poster has ever made a post referencing disgust in how this type of situation is handled. To the person that posted "Messiah Obama" and "filthy rich": Those are the words of you and the right wing media, not the words of Obama himself. For a family earning 150k or more, that puts them in the top 3%. That means that 97% of the people in this country earn less than that. Is that "filthy"? Don't know, but it is rich. If Obama is willing to make the sacrifice, why are not the rest? It seems that everybody wants someone else to "share the sacrifice", just not themselves, except for The Messiah. So, what are YOU willing to sacrifice for your country? Anything?


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 6:51 p.m.

I love to see professionals, who don't get their way, picket and stomp their feet. It would be an interesting twist if UofM management picketed the nurse union hall, signs and all. I doubt that this would happen as manywould scream that management picketing is not professional or not correct. The nurses and their union need to grow up and together, handle business at hand.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 11:42 a.m.



Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 3:12 p.m.

Can't understand why the writer goes with the UM line - 'average' instead of the more educated and more accurate 'median'. Averages get skewed by a few larger earners and isn't as reflective as a median. But that's what UM wanted and the writer enabled them to distort and misinform. She should have said to them -- 'and what's the median pay?' so we could see the difference. And any time the employer starts off 'negotiations' with a forced concession it tells you where things are going. How about citing the 'average' pay of clinicians so we can see where the hospital's money goes?


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.



Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 2:20 p.m.

If the nurses aren't really all that inportant by all means find some people off the street who can come and do our jobs..... apparently any monkey can do it. WE are not even asking for a raise, just to keep things the way they are. By raising our insurance they will be giving us a pay CUT and after that Gov. Snyder will pass the bill to decrease it even more by 5%. We are just too spoiled now arent we


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 4:10 a.m.

12% over a three year period? The U is offering 2% over the next to years, only covering the cost of inflation and cost of living. Combined with increased health premiums, decreased incentives to work over time resulting in under-staffing, increased retirement age, and an inability to use our paid-time-off for emergencies, this all amounts to a big paycut. When Ohio State nurses and nurses in Chicago got small wage increases, NO ONE said they didn't deserve it. Are we any less qualified than they are?


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 2:32 a.m.

Mary actually my spelling was fine my punctuation was a little off, but I do get a little overzealous when typing about these things. And I only make $60,000 if that makes you feel any better


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 1:11 a.m.

Yes, you are and your spelling is horrible. Certainly not a characteristic of someone making $70,000 a year.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 10:15 p.m.

hummm maybe you should read the nurses union new releases 'UMPNC/MNA – The proposals we have suggested, which equate to approximately 12% over a three-year period for nurses... Additionally, MVN/MVC nurses should be on the same wage scale (up to Step 13) as all other Framework nurses. We want the NPs in Tier 1 to be in the same range as Tier 2 NPs as well as a minimum guaranteed wage increase for Nurse Practitioners.' What that says to me is that YES the nurses are asking for a pay increase.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 8:04 p.m.

beer, up is down, green is black in the new radical agenda. Facts are irrelevant.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

How is asking to not take a paycut asking for a raise?

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 4:48 p.m.

Yes, you are. Everyone else in the private sector has to deal with this. The cost of health insurance is increasing by double digits every year. Your deal is actually better than most. You have to understand that when you complain about this offer and vilify the people making this offer, a lot of us out here in the private sector are rolling our eyes. It's a tough job market right now.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Is this the same union that also works with the teachers in Ann Arbor? Or is it a collaboration? Just wondering because after reading this? It sounds like the teachers and the nurses are working together to keep their pay about the same and insurance similar. All I can say is this. Boo hoo to you. While bus drivers and custodians are suffering at the hands of WISD and other non caring individuals, they have to pay nearly $2000 out of pocket deductible before their health insurance will kick in. Time to bring in some Snyder ideas and bring this spending under control. Nurses do not have my sympathies. Must be nice to have the bucks and the insurance to go with it.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 8:12 p.m.

Edith, bus drivers have kids lives in their hands every day. Are they not important?


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

O boo hoo. We find that no matter where you go md or nurse? Both want more money and blank checks to go with it. Sorry, but I stand where I am. We find that nurses are more on breaks then when you least expect it. This is in our opinion and personal experience.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 4:05 a.m.

No offense to bus drivers or custodians, but your LIFE is in our hands. Literally. The NURSES run codes, and save your life when you are in a cardiac arrest. The NURSE runs your child's life support 24 hours a day, when the MDs round once a day for maybe 10 minutes. Nurses make the critical, in-the-moment life-saving decisions for your loved one. We plus doctors are a team. To say our pay should be equal to a custodian is like saying any MDs' pay should also be equal to a custodian. When it's YOUR child who's life is in the nurses' hands, you may be singing a different tune.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:55 p.m.

If everyone else at the university if paying 30& for health care then the nurses should too....there should not be a difference just because there is a union. However, as far as wages go, you can't go giving the heads of companies and universities BIG raises and small ones to everyone who works under you ....sets a bad example to be sure. 1-2% raises across the board for all job families is just WRONG when the university is not in the red by any means. They don't even claim to be! Bring back profit sharing and then we will see who benefits and tie administrator salary to the margin.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 1:14 p.m.

I would agree with your comment about raises for sure. Getting 1-2% each year is bushleague. Considering most research firms and the like will tell you that if you aren't able to get 3% each year, your boss is either a "blank" or the company/organization isn't run very well.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

Not to make light of the situation, as it is personal for many people (including people I know), but if the NFL owners and players can come up with a deal (that involves an un-Godly amount of money on the table), the nurses union and UMHS should be able to get a deal done. Always try for what you want, but have your BATNA ready to go so you don't screw with the quality of your product and your consumers.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:25 p.m.

"Union Representation or non representation has nothing to do with how much education you have." @M1687- To quote John McEnroe, "Are you serious?"


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 1:29 a.m.

"@M1687- To quote John McEnroe, "Are you serious?"" Ted Striker: Surely you can't be serious. Rumack: I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 6:03 a.m.

Clarification to redwingshero comment...LPN's are not represented by the nursing union at U of M.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:24 p.m.

Thanks for that info babs


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 6 a.m.

To the person who said "Professionals never walk out"-----how long does someone continue to be disrespected, taken advantage of, and unappreciated? Many of us tolerate this because we need to feed our kids---doesn't make it right. I have, unfortunately, had to spend a lot of time in both U of M and St Joe's Hospital in the past 3 years. How I would have survived without the compassion, knowledge, and skill of the nurses at these two hospitals is incomprehensible. My highest accolades to this occupation and the ones who choose this career path. Let's support these very hard working people. I, personally, could never pay them enough for what they do.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 8:03 p.m.

Alternately one could ask to be respected and appreciated, shown by better pay. This my-way or the highway attitude is offensive and selfish. While slavery may be illegal your attitude reeks of it.

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

If you are disrespected and unappreciated, find a job where you are respected and appreciated. If you can't, perhaps you don't have the skill set necessary for the level of respect and appreciation you're demanding. If you measure respect and appreciation over a few dollars, find a job where you're paid more. Last I checked, slavery was illegal in the United States. You might personally be unable to pay these people enough. If you were in charge of the hospital, you would undoubtedly run it into financial ruin. Then people would have to go elsewhere for health care.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 4:42 a.m.

They have to "walk" to make them listen


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 4:23 a.m.

First of all, to anyone who thinks the nurses make any hospital the nations best, you are very confused. Nurses (RN') follow orders, orders made by doctors. This point should no longer be debated. I am glad we have nurses nonetheless.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 4 a.m.

The MDs and I work together, every day. We correct each other's mistakes, we make suggestions to one another, and we make decisions together. In the ICU, we don't wait when someone has a cardiac arrest to do a code. The nurses can do this themselves. The MDs CAN'T. They have no idea which tube goes where! They need our expertise just as much as we need theirs. NO one saves a life without a nurse (or probably two or three). I correct electrolytes myself, we bag patient's who stop breathing and we code people in cardiac arrest, well before a doctor is on the scene. We are constantly saying "hey, you need to order this" or "hey, that order was NOT right and here's why". To say we FOLLOW orders is an insult. We are a checks and balance system, but it always comes down to the nurse, because in the end the nurse is the one putting meds INTO someone's body, or performing the actual action itself.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 6:45 p.m.

I think maybe the some nurses need a reality check too. Why did the hospital go to omnicell machine? or single unit dosing? or bar codes on patient's ID bracelets? and pharmacy now mixes the medications before sending patient's medications to the floor? Was it to cut down on nursing error? maybe? It is a mistake to think that a nurse or anyone is infallible. That is when mistakes do happen. That is why there is a TEAM and check and balance. Yes the new residents may ask a nurse for help. Did it ever occur to you it is because they just would like to know what is common practice here at the UM? Or maybe they would like to know, if you are the nurse taking care of a patient, if the orders they have just put in the computer or are about to entry, resolves the issue they were called for? Again is not respectful for them to ask your opinion? to consider it? and if it is appropriate follow it? Is that not what you are asking for? Respect?


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

Actually, nvragain, you are the one who is very confused. Nursing IS one the key factors that makes a hospital one of the best. According to the U.S. News and World Report Hospital 2011 (U of M ranked #14 nationally) nurse staffing is one the key indicators that gives a hospital a high ranking. Nursing and nursing outcomes are also key measures that the federal government and Medicare tracks to ascertain quality care delivered in hospitals. As a consumer of health care, you might want to be better informed about the impact that nurses make on health care. Technically, you are correct, doctors write orders and nurses 'follow' them. But you obviously have NO idea how things work in reality. It is often the nurses 'suggesting' to the MD what order to write (and NOT following written orders that would be harmful to the patient)! And if you think I'm wrong on this, try being a patient in a teaching hospital (in July!) and telling your seasoned nurse to just 'follow' the orders written by your (wet behind the ears) intern.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

Did I say nurses dont save lives. No. I said they are not what makes a patient come to a hospital, or what makes it one of the nations best. They come for the doctors, not the cafeteria workers, or custodians, But the doctors. Patients surely come from all around the world for the nurses, NOT. Unfortunately I do know just a bit about nursing, seeing how my mother is one.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.

You have no idea what a Registered Nurse does, my friend.

David Paris

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 11:51 a.m.

I see your point, but I don't necessarily agree (in this particular case). A well oiled machine is the sum of it's parts, so to speak, and from what I've seen University Hospital has a lot of well oiled parts.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 11:28 a.m.

Seriously? Are you kidding me? Nurses catch deadly mistakes in those orders on a daily basis. And they save lives in the front lines when a patient takes a turn for the worse and no doctor is around. Doctors depend on the skill of the nurses to gauge how a patient is faring and to intervene as necessary, often saving the life of somebody's parent, spouse or child. There are many things nurses do that don't require orders and some if those things help a hospital attain world class status.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 2:53 a.m.

Funny how the U wants to take away our overtime, but in the next breath they are begging us to work overtime right now and giving us a little bonus to do so!! You can't have it both ways U! Make up your minds, either we are needed and respected or you can provide your award winning care without us......which one is it????


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 2:05 p.m.

We all have GREAT respect for our other team members. Most of the MDs in my ICU are wearing Support the Nurses pins right now. They support us and we support them when it comes to negotiating THEIR contract. Neither of us could do an effective job saving lives without the other. Every team member, including ICU techs and respiratory therapists, know how hard we all work to keep people alive and try to get them home as healthy and soon as possible. What proudnurse is saying is that they are continually begging us to stay after our 12 hour shifts or come in on our days off, but they no longer want to pay us in incentives for coming in on a weekend off, or working extra on a holiday week. You are right, it is RESPECTFUL to pay us overtime. It is respectful to offer incentives to work longer or more hours than you were hired to work. As far as MDs go, their hours are very limited, and they came into the job realizing that during residency they will work long, tiring hours. I think they are unfairly compensated for that as well.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 6:12 p.m.

Really? Again what are the really facts. Like any other 'business' it is better to limit the amount overtime because it is costly. So yes, the UM hospital would like to minimize overtime. OK, I think that is great that the UM gives you a bonus when you are asked to work more than your appointed hours or time. That is respectful! If you do not want the bonus, write a check and give it back to the UM. Boy, I am lost with your last sentence. I never heard the UM say they did not need nurses. Did you? I think the UM always acknowledge that the nurses are a valuable member of the medical TEAM. Yes, I do believe, at least reading the posting here, that a few nurses have 'god' like complexes and forget they are not the only people taking care of patients. A few of you here need to show a little respect to the other TEAM members.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:32 p.m.

That is true. My Mother in-law works there are they go, "you know what" if anyone is going to work overtime

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 2:46 a.m.

Professionals don't threaten to walk out. Ever.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 8:01 p.m.

JNS- Obama has agreed to most of the spending cuts asked for by the GOP, Boehner backed away from what he said he supported a few weeks ago. Even Reagan did away with loopholes and tax credits, resulting in the largest "tax increase" in our nations history, in an attempt to balance the budget. MACABRE stated that professionals NEVER walk out, Boehner did. That means he must not be a professional in the eye of MACABRE. Reasons don't seem to matter when the word "never" is used.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 4:59 p.m.

JSN131: Obama inherited an economic mess from Bush. Bush inherited a budget surplus from Clinton and turned it into a huge hole (2 unfunded wars, a Medicare Rx program that was a lie and then his $1.7 trillion tax cut for the wealthy). That's where our hole was dug. Now the Republicans don't want to allow the tax cut (that was paid with borrowed, yes, borrowed money!) to expire so we can at least get back to the 1970s in terms of revenue. Boner is lost and trying to appease the Teanuts.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 1:53 p.m.

Thats because Obama had a temper tantrum when Boehner would not cave in to the his spending habits and give him a blank check on spending. No more blank checks. Live within your means Obama. At least someone has it right.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 1:23 p.m.

Rueters: Vice President Joe Biden and a handful of lawmakers had been working on a budget-cutting deal that would allow Congress to sign off on continued borrowing, but Republicans quit unexpectedly after saying the group had reached an impasse over tax increases sought by Democrats


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:26 p.m.

I think John Boehner recently did.

David Paris

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 11:41 a.m.

Or, in other words... A Utopian Business Climate works best when it's in Managements Favor. Did I paraphrase that correctly for you, friend?


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 2:57 a.m.

Nobody threatened to walk out.....And, since we are talking about what professionals don't do, they don't walk a way from a bargaining table saying they won't talk unless they get their way either! What happened to mutual gains bargaining? I see all gains for the U and all losses for the nurses!


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 2:36 a.m.

What will happen if the nurses don't take the same 30% demand that was shoved down the salaried workforces throats? What will happen is others will see the benefits of having a union and want to unionize themselves. U of M jumped the gun too early when they forced their salaried people to do this. Now, they are forced to try and shove it down the unions collective throats. It's "all the rage" to bust up a union. The University is using the political climate to their advantage. U of M turns a profit every year. The nurses are not asking for ANYTHING. The nurses just want to keep the ball rolling. This makes me think about all the "shared gains" bargaining we have done over the years with management. We didn't force anything down their throats when we had the advantage. We played "fair". Now the University has the advantage and they are pressing it for all their worth. I have lost a lot of faith in the system. Management is now showing who they really are. We really are "just a number" here at the University. I used to be proud to work here. Now I just want to retire and get out. I don't want my kids working here either. I'll steer them away.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 4:11 p.m.

part 2 - I truly would like to see verifiable data. I have asked for this all along. What I do get is a lot of misdirect, like we deserve it because management got a 10% raise last year. Really is that a real argument? It would be like your child coming to you and saying they deserve a 30% raise because they over heard that their daddy got a raise at work. What maybe you should look at and make a comparison to is - three years ago there was a 3% merit increase, two years ago none and last year 3% and this year it is rumored the merit raise is 2%. That is what every other health care provider and support staff got last three years. The nursing union is asking for 4% for the next three years. Tell me where the real injustice is and do it with real facts and without beating up on fellow health care providers. A lot of these health care provider and support staff, that are being trashed or devalued as team member by lot of nurse commenters here, have been for the last three years feeling the pain and the majority of them make a lot less then nurses. Let's not forget that all these people making less then nurses are already paying more for their benefits. Imagine how much harder it was for them. Where is this nursing compassion? I feel a lot of nurses commenting here have messianic complexes. I see a lot of bashing of other great health care providers just to try to win the cause. If the only way nurses can win is by threats of poor care if they do not get what they want, and beating on other providers here at the UM, then really there is something wrong. How come you can stand on real facts and merit? Look around and maybe ask the next house cleaner how they are surviving with the changes in their benefits and their salary.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 4:09 p.m.

part 1 I have tried to check your 'facts' that you have cited. I did find reference to the Chicago Nurses getting 15% raise. One reference and the article did not really state other details like what was the average pay of the nurses prior to this contract. How did their pay compare to other inner city hospital? Do you know? I tried to find information about OSU, but was not able to find any reference on a Google search. You would think there would be at least one article, right? I am not against fixing a real iniquity. At one time in history the union served a vital function and improved the working condition of many. I do not feel this is true in all cases now or now. Again, because of the union's inability to acknowledge the current economic climate, I think this is why you see tide shifting and some people see unions as one of the problems in the current economic situation. I think the average person can understand that once the reimbursement rate was higher. There was once an average return of 55 cent on every dollar billed, now 34cent on every dollar. And now, with Medicare and Medicaid paying less and with the number of uninsured patient increasing, I can foresee it getting worse in the very near future. Remember the UM is a public hospital and cannot turn away patient. With the pie of money shrinking, the nurses are asking for more. Where does this money come from? Should the hospital pay less to housekeeping, or PT, or RT? Where is this money coming from? Or is this not nurses concern?


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

It is actually NOT reality, A2Common. If you benchmark the employer's proposals against the rest of the major level 1 trauma centers, ECMO centers, and transplant centers in the country. Ohio State nurses, for example, will only be 2% of their health care premiums this coming year, with 100% tuition reimbursement and pro-rated childcare. Chicago nurses are getting a raise of 15% over the next three years because they held firm for a fair contract. Nurses in Minnesota, Washington D.C. and California have also held out for better contracts and got them in the end. You should check the facts before you claim that the WHOLE country is offering this kind of contract to their specialty nurses.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 5:32 p.m.

For me, this is a another prime example why people want to bust up the unions. The hospital is asking them, the nurses, to take the same health and retirement benefits the rest of us have. They are not being asked to do more and be a martyr for the cause. Please take a little time and look around at the rest of the USA. It is happening everywhere. It is the current reality. What is see is a misguided union that fails to acknowledge this reality. Instead they want to appeal to your emotional side, distract you with management salaries, throw you red herrings, twist facts etc. Does any one see it problematic if the only way you can show respect is by throwing more money at someone? Or is it not problematic if the only good nurses are the ones getting the most money or somehow your care as a patent is tied into whether or not your nurse is gets more money? They seem to want you to believe that 'best' correlates to salaries. Really? What every happen to real facts with real numbers. I for one hope that the University does not give in on this issue.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 3:52 p.m.

Don't you realize that we are without a contract now (it was not extended) and the administration can implement anything they want right now. They can change the health plan price, they can change our wages, they can change the retirement, ANYTHING. Unions have a place, but not as they have been in the past. Times are changing

Michigan Man

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:14 a.m.

Spare me please! I think I am suffering from Nursing Union Fatigue! Probably should go to St.Joe in Ann Arbor to secure treatment for this disorder.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 3:51 a.m.

Hopefully when you get to St. Joe's you won't be in heart failure, because only the U puts in LVADS (mechanical hearts), only the U does ECMO (oxygenates your blood by bypassing the lungs) so I hope your lungs don't go down the tubes. I also hope you aren't looking for a transplant of any kind, or have a VERY high risk pregnancy or premie baby with a lot complications... but if you DO, it will be the U of M survival flight nurses who pick you up and keep you alive on your trip from St. Joe's to U of M, and it will be nurses like me who keep you alive on all of these special devices. Go ahead and go to St. Joe's. I hope it's nothing too serious.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 9:32 a.m.

No I have never even applied at the Joe. I have been alot of other places through agency work but never the Joe...... I have worked at St. Marys in Livonia a sister hospital of the Joe. And to be honest I hae never heard anything bad about the Joe from friends who have worked there so hoestly I have no ill will toward them. I just know that if that is what you were to do the U wouldn't care. They wont even care when a handful of people leave once this contract passes and we get a junk deal. And they wont care when another handful leave when we all have to start taking busses to work............ the bottom line being THEY DON'T CARE!


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 2:39 a.m.

Stephen, I may follow you to St Joe, but not for treatment, for work....why not, better pay and not paying 500+ per year to "maybe" getting a parking spot!! Sounds good to me!

Michigan Man

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 2:04 a.m.

beersnob - I must have hit a nerve? You seem pissed off at St. Joe and other high quality healthcare providers/systems. Were you denied an opportunity to work in that system?


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 1:29 a.m.

Bye! I'm sure we will do just fine without you. And Bo must have went back and forth b/c I saw him myslef ALOT at the U. I know alot of staff who can say the same. An again if the Joe is so great where are they in the rankings? If tey were all they great wouldn't they make the list? And as for the U I continue to see pt.s coming not only from all over our country but the world over, so you have your opinion and I 'll have mine. I see children all the time who bypass CHOP, Cleveland Clinic and many others just to get to us.

Michigan Man

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 1:19 a.m.

Beersnob - Hate to tell you but St. Joe, for years, has kicked the you know what of the U of M health system - just to name a few = OB/GYNE (4500+ annual deliveries) + Cardiac Surgery - Please remember the deceased U of M football coach (Bo somebody) choose the St. Joe Cardiac program for very obvious (quality) reasons. I will stop now as to not embarrass you further.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:53 a.m.

Have at it... where did they rank on the World Report of the countries BEST hospitals......


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:49 a.m.

Go for it..


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 11:55 p.m.

Jim, The quote should say "To continue to have world-class nursing, we have to be able to keep nurses here who are able to do the work of CARING FOR the most complicated patients." error...


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 1:18 a.m.

That was my guess too. But I figured they would have fixed it by now, so maybe the quote was accurate.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 11:44 p.m.

70K a year for a 4 year degree? What a joke these cry babies are thinking of striking. Some Doctors only make 150K with 9 more years of education and double the hours. GET BACK TO WORK AND HELP PATIENTS!!!!


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 4:12 p.m.

Personally, when I'm in the hospital, I hope the nurse who is taking care of me is making at LEAST $70,000. They are not only educated, but are in a difficult profession that constantly changes. I want MY nurse to be well compensated and educated. What kind of nurse do YOU want?


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

Doctors don't have 9 more years of education. They have 4 years of medical school after 4 years of undergrad. Residency is then a paid work/learning environment. So....that would be 4 more years of education compared to a bachelor's prepared nurse, which UM has many of those. I also know quite a few RNs working as staff nurses that have more than 4 years of education, some with Master's degrees that UM is fortunate to have. Doctors don't work 80 hour work weeks anymore, and most make well over 150K. Nurses, after completing their education, start working and accumulating work experience and knowledge on the job. They don't have the option of a "residency" type learning environment, but trust me the learning curve in the first 5 years of nursing is huge, and an experienced nurse adds tremendously to the quality of care a hospital can provide.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 2:17 p.m.

Hey Joe blow I don't make triple as you say....<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> And it must really bother you that I really only have a two year degree. But then again not just anyone can walk in off the street and do my job either


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.

Hey joe.blow and Mariella, time for a little education: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> And even if 70,000 was the actual &quot;average&quot; salary, the RNs would still be underpaid.

Steve Pepple

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 11:17 a.m.

A comment posted overnight containing a personal attack has been removed.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 2:49 a.m. doesn't take into account the appointment fraction a person works either, it states my salary as if I worked 40 hours a week, which I don't!


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 2:19 a.m.

beersnob, you're complaining about 60K/year? Really? Hey, maybe you should strike, making triple what the average American does isn't enough! As for the rest of you, the average sounds correct based off your own numbers. 10 years of experience is nothing, have you seen all the older nurses? I say patients should strike until their bill goes down from overpaid nurses!

David Paris

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 1:32 a.m.

&quot;70K a year for a 4 year degree?&quot; I don't see a problem with that, Joe. What qualifies you, or anyone to determine what a four year degree should pay? For what I'm paying for my education, that's not far off from what I'd expect in a short period of time. This austerity bug going around is just a short-term mental condition, it's about time to get over it, me thinks!


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:57 a.m.

It is not the average of the majority of nurses working at the U. NPs and CRNAs do completely different jobs than the majority of nurses


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:52 a.m.

And some nurses only make $30K a year. What's your point? Do you not understand what &quot;average&quot; means?


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:52 a.m.

They lp anyone with nurse in their job title to get this &quot;average&quot; Yes CRNAS are included and they make a base rate of $144,000 a year..... and a new nurse makes $40,000..... I have been working for almost ten years and make about $59,000. NOT the $70+ they want everyone to think we are making


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:51 a.m.

We are at work helping patients and when you are in there crying and dying we will be there to help you too.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:14 a.m.

beersnob, really? What's not true? Even better, there are more 2 year nurses than mid-levels, the the avg salary is skewed down. Just think, if two nurses marry each other, they're getting close to the messiah Obama's definition of filthy rich.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 11:56 p.m.

again NOT the true average!!!!!!!!!!!!


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 11:06 p.m.

I must say though that I think it says alot about the strength of the union when they are planning the picket for a Saturday. That to me reads that they are picking Saturday b/c 1. the Cash Cow ORs don't have a schedule full of cases on the weekends....... 2. That is when the least amount of staff is at the hospital 3. If the union construction workers did stand behind us and decided not to work....... well they don't work weekends so no worry there Just a thought, we are still cow toowing to the U. I think alot of people if given this junk contract will say to themselves why do we need a union? We are getting nothing better than anyone else so why not get rid of the union and save ourselves $600+ a year in dues..... the U might like a NON union hospital


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 10:32 p.m.

Joe Kidd: Huh? One minute you say nurses have inadequate supervision yet your point is that admin is way overpaid. Shouldn't a manager make more than those they supervise? By the way those admin currently contribute 30% toward their health care.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:46 a.m.

Where is this idea that a manager must make more than their employees. I have sales guys who make more than me as a manager. Servers at some restaurants make far more than their managers.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 11 p.m.

Which one is saving a life?


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 10:46 p.m.

well Ez lets see here I make $60,000 a year and my manager makes $120,000 and also got a 11.4% raise this past year and the base salary doesnt include the bonuses thy collect throughtout the year some say these bonuses are upwards of $40,000 total..... so does it make sense that we would pay the same for insurance?


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 10:28 p.m.

There is a strong possibility that a &quot;Project Labor Agreement&quot; exisits on the Mott Hospital Project that would not allow the construction workers to honor the Nurse's Picket. Just a thought...


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

Hey staff or Juliana; you keep reporting the median average salary for the UM RNs. Why not contrast that with the MEAN average salary? Here's all the information you need: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

Opps, sorry for the two (now three) comments, they were suppose to be together. My bad!


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 9:54 p.m.

I like how the CEO of the UMHS, already the highest paid University of Michigan employee, gave herself a 10% raise after taking the Hospital from turing a profit to a $20 million defict (in just two short years!!!). Source: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Jack Gladney

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 9:39 p.m.

Why are they asking for more money? I can find a better price on Amazon instead of using local... Oh wait... wrong thread.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 8:38 p.m.

Just out of curiosity, if nurses (at least those that are R.N.'s) have 4 year degree's, why do they need a union to represent them? Aren't they considered &quot;educated professionals&quot; and need not a union to represent them regarding wages, beneifts, etc.? If LPN's, RN's, nurse practitioners, etc. have special certifications that average workers cannot attain without the education and training, wouldn't that put them in a criteria that doesn't need representation? Even with an MBA in my field, I dont' make close to their average salary (although showing average salary as a statistic is misleading, as outliers pull the average up). A better stat would be getting rid of the upper and lower quartiles and use the average from the data remaining. That would paint a more accurate picture.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 1:24 a.m.

&quot;Of course it does. Unions compensate for the lack of power to manage one's life that comes with not being educated. The more education you have, the more you are in control of your destiny and the less use you have for a union. Through education you rise to a level that has no need of the coercive methods of unions&quot;. I disagree with you Will. Unions do not compensate but rather represent their members and look out for the best interest of their members through collective bargaining etc. The ability to manage ones life is not solely based on having degrees/certificates. It certainly can present options but not necessarily to the point of reaching a level that one would still not need representation from a Union. A person can achieve what you are referring to by having a marketable skill in something that is in demand. Union or not.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

Education levels are not a criteria for union representation. Unions form when employees (&quot;educated professionals&quot; or not) feel they are not respected and valued by the management or administration.

Will Warner

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:15 p.m.

"Union Representation or non representation has nothing to do with how much education you have." Of course it does. Unions compensate for the lack of power to manage one's life that comes with not being educated. The more education you have, the more you are in control of your destiny and the less use you have for a union. Through education you rise to a level that has no need of the coercive methods of unions.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:41 a.m.

The doctors have a union. It is called the AMA. Why shouldn't the nurse have one.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 11:11 p.m.

Union Representation or non representation has nothing to do with how much education you have.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 9:46 p.m.

Why do professional athletes need a union? Unions claim to be pro-worker while they collect dues and feed the money to their favorite politician. That politician promises them the world only to come full circle to the reality that the market ultimately determines the wages and benefits and then has to be corrected as the UM is doing now. Not fun when you get something then have it taken away. Nurses work hard, are usually understaffed, AND have the lives of patients in their hands, but there's always the reality of making the hospital run profitably. It's only going to get worse as long as Obamacare exists as the cost curve for health care accelerates even faster while reimbursements decline; thank your union and democratic controlled congress for that too. People will soon realize we've all been duped, I feel bad for the hardworking nurses they're caught in the middle

Joe Kidd

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 9:10 p.m.

Employees look to their employer to take care of them. When they feel the employer is not, they unionize to take care of themselves. If you are happy with your boss, you don't need a union. But if you don't trust your boss... While I have little problem with the health care split, IMHO when you are laid up in the hospital very ill or in pain those nurses are the ones who make you feel much better and they deserve their pay. But at the UMMC, the nurses are far underpaid in comparison to the Drs and admin staff. Sure Drs are highly trained but the pay to administration borders on outrageous and it is a slap in the face to demand concessions with runaway spending in admin. If the hospital made an effort to squish those gaps, perhaps more trust would result. Also, nursing supervision in many areas is very lacking, non existent. This is part of the reason health care is so expensive. It requires a lot of highly trained personnel. In regard to the pay averages, you have to also take into account that nursing has various fields and levels, RNs, LPNs, NPs. Increasing the role of NPs has been promoted as one way to decrease costs, as NPs (and physician assistants) can do many of the tasks traditionally done by a Dr. Also typically there is a lot of overtime opportunities. There are a lot of part time positions too. I doubt part time nurses would agree with altering benefit premiums.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 9:10 p.m.

That is exactly right. They are lumping the CRNAS and NPs who all have masters degrees and earn very high wages (well CRNAS) are paid well BUT below the average for other hospitals if you compare them. And NPs who also have a masters arent really paid all that well for all they do. BUT the problem is I don't make $70+ I make about $12,000 less than that and I ahve worked here for 8 years. So everyone thinks we are all making $70+ and it's not true


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 8:22 p.m.

In this economy, an average of $70,179 seems to be a pretty nice wage .... and most companies are increasing employee contributions towards health care. My understanding is that all other employee groups at UofM besides the Nurses have already done so. It seems pretty vindictive and petty to use the threat of a strike involving skill trades to stop construction on the new hospital to get what the Nurses want .... they must have been taught at at the knees of the Republican &quot;hold them hostage&quot; school of education.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 12:49 a.m.

Many nurses aren't able to get full-time jobs, either. They're earning $33.74/hour, but the hospital will only give them 24-30 hours a week.

David Paris

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 11:54 p.m.

&quot;In this economy, an average of $70,179 seems to be a pretty nice wage ...&quot; I kinda think that they deserve a pretty nice wage. Personally, if I were a patient, I'd want to have a nurse taking care of me that wasn't under-paid, wouldn't you? Not only that, but University Hospital is ranked 14th Best Hospital in the country, don't you want to keep it there? <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 11:14 p.m.

I wish my RN wife made $70,179!!!! I could retire then.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 9:51 p.m.

The $70,179 is the median salary which includes specialists, like a Nurse Anesthetist, who make over $120,000 per year. Check out <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> and calculate the MEAN salary; you'll find a vast majority of the UM RNs make less than $70,179.

Joe Kidd

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 9:13 p.m.

It is not so much a threat of a strike involving trades. What Trespass was referring to is that often members of other unions (like truckers) will refuse to cross a picket line in a show of solidarity. Its more of a dem thing than a rep thing.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 9:12 p.m.

And all the other peopple who agreed to pay that should have stood stronger imho. And the &quot;average&quot; salary they are using is far from that. You are taking mainstream floor RNs and grouping them with CRNAS.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 9:10 p.m.

Well we had to since we deal with the BULLY YOU TILL YOU SUBMIT upper management......

David Briegel

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 8:26 p.m.

That's TeaPublican, Just Say No school of education.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

"To continue to have world-class nursing, we have to be able to continue to keep nurses here who are able to do the work of the most complicated patients," Oppenheim said. This quote makes no sense. It sounds like the nurses are going to do the patients' work for them while they're in the hospital.

David Paris

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 11:42 p.m.

How about if you change it to&quot; to do the work ON the most complicated patients&quot;?


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 11:20 p.m.

The quote makes sense to me. You need real nurses that can do the job and that are skilled. ie. How many nurses out there can start an IV on a 400 pound patient? Most of time you can never find a vein etc.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 8:12 p.m.

The UM administration told the union that it would not even exchange contract proposals until the union agreed to increase the employee health insurance contribution from 20% to 30%. They want to start the negotiations with a concession rather than negotiating the whole package. The administration is just daring the union to go on strike in an effort to break the union. If the skilled trade unions honor the nurses picket lines that would stop the construction on the Mott's Childrens' Hospital and other construction projects. The UM already expects to lose money until Mott's if full. This will increase those losses, probably more than the cost of the healthcare insurance. Thus, it seems like this is not as much about money as it is about busting the union.

Joe Kidd

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 9:15 p.m.

I heard that rumor that there are concerns the new children's hospital may not fill as thought when designed and that may create fiscal issues. Part of that is due to the mass exodus from Michigan. Oops.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 9:12 p.m.

They just want to win!