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Posted on Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 3:47 p.m.

University of Michigan nurses plan to file 2nd unfair labor practice claim during contested contract talks

By Juliana Keeping

The University of Michigan nurses plan to file a second unfair labor practice claim against the university, they announced today.

Contract talks that fell apart in July between U-M and the nurses are scheduled to resume Wednesday. Contested areas involves increases to the nurses' health premiums and other changes to benefits.

In the mean time, nurses union lawyers are gathering a list of alleged violations they say amounts to a new violation of state labor law.

The alleged violation involves the contract talks, a spokesperson for the Michigan Nurses Association said, declining to provide additional details. The MNA is negotiating a contract on behalf of the 4,000-member nurses union.

The nurses are calling a press conference at noon Tuesday to release more details on unfair labor practice claim.

At the conference, they’ll also share more information on an informational picket scheduled for Aug. 13.

The first unfair labor practice claim was filed in June on behalf of a 40-member vascular access services team, who in April were told their work hours would change without UMHS first negotiating with the MNA.

The claim was unrelated to the contested contract talks, a spokesperson said.

The last contract was ratified in 2008. The nurses have been working under the expired contract since July 1.

When a claim is filed with the state, a judge determines whether the claim warrants a hearing, and if there has been a violation of the law, said Ruthanne Okun, director of the state’s bureau of employment relations, in June.

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



Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 8:25 p.m.

I advocate for BOTH my patients AND my FAMILY!


Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 3:35 p.m.

New grads are great, but...NOTHING can replace EXPERIENCE. That comes with time, patience and age. It takes just that to have the insight and hindsight to become proficient and be a top notch nurse. IQ's and other various letters and qualifications and degrees mean absolutely nothing without the experience that backs them up.


Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 2:02 a.m.

Be grateful that you have a job to support your family. Unfortunately, many nurses do not, especially new grads. I politely encourage the nurses at UMHS to step lightly in this dispute, especially with all the new grads willing to work for lesser pay and benefits. There is no job security in this economy, even in the nursing profession.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 3:10 p.m.

Yes we nurses are being asked to pay 30,40,50% of the cost of our health care. This should make us happy? There is a lot of talk about nurses paying what everyone else pays already; ask any of those employees if they are happy with it too. Ask yourself if you would be before you judge our decision to stick up for ourselves and our profession. The difference is, when I and my fellow nurses are asked to make this increase, it eats up 50% of my take home pay. Yes, 50% of the pay you think I do not deserve because I am already overpaid. When administrators who make 5 times what I make are asked to pay it, the cost to them is minuscule. Our top administrators gave themselves lavish bonuses and pay increases. We have been given walk through tours of the new c&w hospital; it is a palace where no expense was spared. The university is spending astronomical amounts on the stadium, a basketball facility, and building after building around campus. The university owns enormous amounts of real estate in Michigan; entire forests, the old Pfizer site, the old Ann Arbor news building. They pay property taxes on none of it. Tuition is outrageous. First year students are required to live on campus and pay the dorm fees, even if they are Ann Arbor residents. This university has money. They don't need more of mine. Stop the insane building if you need to save some cash. Or better yet, have the ceos cut their pay in half and eliminate their bonuses . Administration, practice what you preach.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 4:41 a.m.

The nurses are just irrational. They think they should be the only UM employees not paying the same rates for medical health care premiums because of factors that are not connected: The new hospital, the wage rates of people in other roles, the profitability or loss in the health system. The fact is, all UM employees will be paying or moving to the same benefit premium structure based on UM paying a percentage and employees paying a percentage. Most businesses have their plans set this way and even the State model is now set this way. While nurses may have been spoiled in the past, they need to step up and pay their fair share like every other UM employee and most other Americans who see their health care premiums continue to rise. They will keep looking for and continue claiming unfair labor claims as long as they can, but they only continue to look ridiculous.


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 10:15 p.m.

@ Tim.....Thank you Tim! I couldn't agree more with you. I would love a 10% (or more) raise. You're very wise.


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 9:19 p.m.

The nurses should take the same cut that the administrator and MDs take.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

@ eagleman First, the decisions the RNs make will save your life (kinda important, don't you think?). Second, if you read the first article I posted, you'll see that almost every UM administrator voluntarily chose to take a pay freeze because of the economy. The one of the few exceptions was the Hospital CEO. She's hooked on the gravy and needs the middle class nurses to pay for it.

Laura Roaden

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 12:38 p.m.

@ eagleman - the decisions of an administrator may affect the employees or the basic operations of the hospital. The decisions of a nurse affect the health and well being and LIFE of his or her patients.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 4:17 a.m.

The university made a $20 billion profit? I seriously doubt that they made $20 billion IN PROFIT. Revenue maybe, but not profit. The university is in debt this year of Mott. Long term it is an institution that is in good stead. I don't think you can compare nurses to high level administrators. The decisions Strong and Pescovitz make impact EVERYONE at UMHS whilst the decisions nurses make impact a fraction of that number. Also, neither can "give" anything to themselves. Any raise has to go through the board of regents. No company I know permits its CEO's and high level management to dictate their own raises. Nurses work hard and deserve what they got, but is it really necessary to use the the same dishonest tactics that the U has often employed?


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 3:46 a.m.

I'd love to take a "cut" of the 20 billion dollar profit the U made last year!! Great idea Tim.....heck, I'd even take a cut of Doug Strong's raise since it was more than my yearly salary!!


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.

Well, Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, the CEO of the Health System gave herself an 8% raise in 2010 and a 3% raise in 2011. And look at her outstanding track record! Pescovitz took a health system that was making a profit and is now over $20 million in debt!!! In only two years!!! She has definately earned her $721,000 yearly salary! No wonder the hospital needs to ask all the middle class nurses to pay more - Pescovitz's gravy train needs support!!! <a href=""></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;FName=Ora%20H&amp;Year=0&amp;Campus=1#current</a>

that's a tuffy

Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 9:30 p.m.

And the same double digit increases.