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Posted on Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 7:15 p.m.

University of Michigan nurses speak out against cuts at regents meeting

By Kellie Woodhouse


Nurses and supporters stand during the University of Michigan Regents meeting at the Fleming Administration Building in Ann Arbor on Thursday afternoon.

Joseph Tobianski |

The first University of Michigan Board of Regents meeting of the school year had an unusually high turnout when dozens of U-M nurses showed up to protest cuts that U-M negotiators are trying to work into their contract.

The rally comes in the midst of a six-month contract dispute between the nurses and the U-M Hospital System. The 4,000-member nurses union has been working without a contract since July.

“If you undercut the respect for our profession, we will leave. We will go elsewhere because we have no choice,” U-M nurse Julie Morrissey told the regents during their meeting. “There is a time for harsh budget discussions, and this is not it. UMHS does not need money form its nurses.”

The two parties disagree on allowances for overtime, paid time off and heath benefits. U-M, citing a tough budget year, is seeking to limit overtime for nurses and increase their health insurance premium.

“There have been some significant (issues) remaining,” U-M’s Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs Ora Hirsch Pescovitz told the regents. “We have an overall interest in reaching an agreement that is market and cost competitive.”

“We do welcome this process and look forward to a successful conclusion to the negotiations,” Pescovitz continued.

In an effort to reach a resolution, a state mediator has been working with the two groups since August. The next meeting for negotiations is set for Sept. 21.

During a tearful address to the regents. U-M nurse Keri Baker said the cuts seem unfair when hospital executives “themselves have taken large raises this year.”

“How can our administrators expect us to respect and admire their leadership when they fail to set and example for us?” Baker asked.

Pescovitz received a $21,000 raise last year, according to U-M’s online salary guide. Numbers for this year were not available.

“On behalf of the nurses, I am asking that you resolve this situation,” Baker said to the regents. “You have the opportunity to avoid this blowing up.”

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.”



Sat, Sep 17, 2011 : 11:22 a.m.

When the nurses ask that their costs for health insurance not be raised by 50%, they are called greedy. But let's compare greed. I was seen recently in the emergency room by an opthalmology resident and a fellow (both house staff physicians in training) but I was charged a professional fee for being seen by a faculty member even though I never saw a fully trained opthamology staff person (they are too lazy or busy writing research grants to see a patient in the ER). The reason they could charge me a professional fee was because UM gives the fellow a title of "clinical lecturer" so that he is considered faculty and the doctors' practice can charge a fee as if he were a staff physician. This kind of gaming the system, costs us in taxes or insurance premiums but Ora Pescovitz will get kudos and more money because she helped the healthcare system generate more income. Thus, according to UM "greed is good" as long as it is management's greed not a nurse living paycheck to paycheck.


Sat, Sep 17, 2011 : 5:55 p.m.

If a nurse is living from paycheck to paycheck, then they are incapable of living within their means with such pay.


Sat, Sep 17, 2011 : 6:41 a.m.

Snapshot, I'm a U of M nurse, and I would LOVE if my raises were based on my patient care. My unit at U of M of my has much lower incidences of falls, pressure ulcers, blood stream infections and ventilator associated pneumonia than any other comparable hospital in the area. I give excellent care, and I wish that I was rewarded accordingly. I don't know where Keri works, but since my unit is far from atypical, I think that your choice to go to another hospital would not be a very wise one.


Sat, Sep 17, 2011 : 1:37 a.m.

I am saddened at the amount of viscious comments directed at the U of M nurses. Wow! I am one of those nurses who drives hours just because I think U of M is a great place to work. That doesn't mean that I don't think what I contribute here is without value. The U of M nurses would like to maintain what we already have, not go backward. As for those who accuse of us of just being in our profession for the money, I wish you could see all that nurses do on their own for their patients. I know nurses who come in on their own to visit patients, purchase birthday gifts, or necessities. I know many nurses who stand strong in their role as patient advocates to make sure their patients receive the right and best care. We are a very important member of the U of M team. I love what I do and I do what I do because I chose this profession, but I refuse to accept that being paid/compensated for my work makes me less dedicated. By that standard, the only good doctors are those who "volunteer" and I am sure that no one believes that.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 3:41 p.m.

Having been a patient at the U of M several times over the past 10 years I can only give the nurses the highest recomendations. Each and every one does his/her job in such a caring, knowledgeable efficient (I'm sure I'm leaving many adjectives out) way. From the ER, to the Floor nurses (I've been on many floors) and ICU, I've never had a nurse that didn't give me the best possible care. While extolling the virtues of U of M Hospital employees, I'd like to also mention the nurse aides, people who draw blood, food service and custodial and respiratory therapists (forgive me if I'm leaving anyone out). Food service employees bring in the food with smiles on their faces and are happy to get you anything additional you want, i.e., tea instead of coffee, white bread instead of wheat, etc. And in one instance, when the receptical on my bedside comode slipped and the fluids went all over the floor, the custodial lady who came to clean it up, when I apologized for the accident, smiled and said "don't give it a second thought, it's job security" putting me at ease. I support the nurses. They all deserve step raises, or however the U handles that; more importantly, they don't deserve to lose any of their current salaries and benefits. If the University of Michigan can afford to build these new hospitals and then ask their high quality employees to take cuts makes no sense. I certainly wouldn't want the overpaid administrators taking care of me.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

My father has been at UM several times in the past two years. I cannot say enough how much the nurses at UM are the Leaders and the Best. They work HARD, long hours, and they do it with empathy, compassion, and most of all, immense knowledge and skill -- and often a smile. UM truly does have a special place here; let's do what can be done to keep it that way.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 1:11 p.m.

As many nurses are the only employed member of the family (head of household) due to economic conditions, we are very aware of current "economic conditions". The team makes the "Michigan Difference", and we are an integral part of that team. Patients are not an assembly line where we "carry out our assigned duties" - if it were that easy, our reputation would not be as one of the "best in the NATION", because anyone would be able to do it. We are not entitled - we are patient advocates and continue that advocacy where patient care is concerned. You can't ignore scientific evidence which has time and time again proven what was stated before: nurse to patient ratio has a dramatic impact on patient outcomes. Look it up. Deborah RN, BS, CAPA.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.

As an RN working for 15+ years at the U, I have a little different perspective. I do not make $65,000 a year, at the end of my work day I can be told I cannot leave and must continue to work. How many other professions can say that? When you have a child to pick up or get home too how do you deal with that? I work holidays and weekends. With each year I gain new knowledge that allows me to provide better care for my patients and be a stronger advocate for them. With each year comes new paper-work, charting and computer programs I also must master. For me this contract equals a $348 paycut a month, yes PAYCUT, even with the "raise" being offered. We aren't expecting big raises or more time off, just to keep what we have fought for. We are well aware of the economic situation this country is in, we live it everyday too. Think about how we as consumers do contribute to the local economy. I love my job as a nurse. I am proud to be a nurse at the University of Michigan. But I can't afford that much of a paycut. I will too leave, as is my choice and find a job closer to home, with no parking fee's (at the U I pay to park) and continue on. Will the U miss me, not likely. And yes healthcare will continue but it will be without the expertise of many nurses. I have refused to administer a medication or a treatment that would have hurt a patient because I knew with my expertise it was not safe and I have caught many other things that could have harmed someone. That is why you want a nurse with experience taking care of you, and one who can speak out on your behalf when you cannot. We are being made to look greedy and uncaring in the media which which is unfortunate because we are far from it or we would not be nurses. Healthcare in this country is a mess, but it not because of nurses. That's like saying the banks failed because of the people who had accounts there. And remember who paid for that? ALL of us.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 7:57 p.m.



Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 12:37 p.m.

Love thy neighbor, thou shelt not steal- (ok, maybe not exact- but I think I'm close). Why should I support the nurses? Because they are people, my people, my friends, my family, or friends of a friend, or live in my community, or work in my neighbor. I trust them to care for my kids, my parents and grandparents, I trust their education, their skills, their abilities and now, I trust their words regarding pay, hours and benefits. And you should too. Not because they are union, or non-union, or full-time, or part-time, but because they are, well.......they are us. If you have had to give up pay, in the form of salary reduction or increases in contributions to health care or retirement, or what ever, then shame on you for not fighting that fight (oops, too strong for Ann Arbor folks- I meant defend what you own). If you bring home $10.00 and put it on the counter, and I come over and take $2.00 of that $10.00, then I have taken from YOU what is not mine, true? And just as I can't, by law, or morale priniciple, or ethic responsibilty, do that, nor should your employer or worse yet, your Governor. It is YOURS. What changes are made to future employees, as new hires, well- we can't defend what is not yet theirs, but I can, will, and so should you, defend what is mine (yours), and if it takes a Union to make that stand, for me or you, then sign me up!! NO MICHIGAN EMPLOYEE should be making less money (I should say taking home less money) today then they were yesterday. We as WORKERS can't continue to allow this snow ball to keep rolling over us, and our families, and friends. Your money, is YOUR money, and if some one takes some of it, they are thiefs. Cowardly theifs at best, hiding behind this "business is bad" umbrella that seems to cover us all, when in fact, it does not. Check the Emergency Dept. waiting room at U of M some time, some how the economy hasn't slowed down illness and injury. Nurses, please stand your ground! For all of us.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 12:57 p.m.

As a U of M Nurse I say thank you for your kind words of support.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 12:25 p.m.

The University is trying to have nurses do more with less. These nurses are working with ever increasing work loads with less support and money. Many times I heard families make comments about the nurses pulling 16 hour days because they are short staffed, unable to hire due to "budget" constraints. Do you want exhausted staff taking care of a loved one day in and day out because the Hospital chooses to save a buck? Less trained, non certified or licensed staff are taking care of patients on a daily basis because, as stated before, it's cheaper. May think twice when an adverse event happens. Nurses have immeasurable insight and experience which deserves reasonable compensation. I find it sad that the community thinks nurses are money hungry monsters looking out for ourselves. Walk a day in our shoes.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 8:43 a.m.

Next time you're admitted to the hospital for some illness or disease it is the nurse not the doctor that administers the pain medication...think about that when you have someone their that does not care about their profession or job.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 6:10 a.m.

I just want one nurse to identify some intelligible reasons as to how increases in their salaries will equate to better patient care? How is fighting for your own personal gain going to help me the patient? You have some of the best facilities in the NATION to work in, and one of the most respected Universities, yet that isn't enough to provide the best care? Its time to stop whining and count your blessings.


Sun, Sep 18, 2011 : 5:46 a.m.

Polyjuce you seem to think that the nurses are fighting for an increase in pay from an employer that made a two percent profit on a two billion dollar budget. Many nurses travel along way to work at the university due to a great benefit package that is under attack by management. Many of those nurses will not work at the university if those benefits go away. Sothey are not fightingfor money as much as they are for the hitin quality care that they give every day. Many an experienced nurse will travel less than 10 miles to work if those benifitsare lost. Patient care will suffer while replacements gain the expertise of current staff.


Sun, Sep 18, 2011 : 1:13 a.m.

@polyjuice, what you either won't or can't understand is that nursing is a profession. Professionals get paid for their work. We're not to blame for the health care crisis -- you may want to look to the for-profit insurers and the very profitable pharmaceutical industry for some answers to that.


Sat, Sep 17, 2011 : 3:20 p.m.

@a2zoo I'm not denying that there aren't some valid arguments as to how not "fighting" for benefits can lead to reduced patient care. However, benefits are just that, a gift from the employer that they aren't required to give. I think where this discussion strikes a cord with many is that all levels of society have taken concessions in recent years, many who perform life saving functions, and others who do complex things that are singular to their profession. My issue is, is when you talk about "care", and throw in the discussion of "benefits". Isn't that facet of being nurse, providing great "care" the reason you chose the profession? Or is upholding your high standard of living? Would I rather have a nurse take care of me that "wants" to be a nurse, or one that is angry that he/she is paying more for their health insurance or parking spot? I would like to think that most nurses chose nursing as a career due to mostly wanting to take care of people, and the other 1/3 because they were attracted to the benefits. We may have a shortage of nurses, but what we also have is a crisis in this country of uninsured patients who cannot afford health care. Eventually there will be a turning point in which costs will be cut and this is already occurring as evidenced by many other hospitals cutting non-essential staff and reducing care staff benefits. As others have noted in this discussion, a hospital is no different than any other operating entity, if costs exceed profits, then cuts must be made. I'm not indicating that I can solve the scheduling complexities of having the right nurses on the right floors at all time while solving a budget shortage, but eventually if UM wants to remain profitable and maintain its image as providing the "best" care will nurses give to their hospital as they do their patients?


Sat, Sep 17, 2011 : 6:45 a.m.

My personal gain? I just want things to stay the same and not have to pay 3-4k more a year for my health insurance. If you think that we have it so great, go to nursing school, we'd love to have you.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 9:06 p.m.

Polyjuce!!! No one is asking for anything more then a minimal wage increase. However, the UMH is asking for more work and less pay!! If you force an already overworked, tired worker to do more work, regardless of what they are working at, the standard of the work will be reduced. Now couple that with the high stress, life and death, profession of nursing and you should be able to see where it might lead to a problem, I think you should be able to see it anyway, now that you have had it explained to you. People are not robots. If you reduce the incentives to work overtime, you will reduce the people who volunteer to work overtime, thus, you will have more people mandated (that means forced) to work extra hours, after maybe already putting in a 12 hour shift. Do you by any means see that this could lead to less then optimal patient care???????? This isn't rocket science, heck it wouldn't even take a low life, greedy nurse to figure it out!!!!


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 9:01 p.m.

jasonlut, go ahead and start on that long list of qualified nursing professionals who can't wait to work for UMHS. I'll wait.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

So PolyJuice can't seem to connect the dots as to how wages and benefits equate to the increased probability of not being able to attract the most highly qualified people. The only conservative argument I've yet to hear as to why a CEO deserves Millions per year is that if a company doesn't provide competitive wages the best and brightest will go elsewhere. Nurses are human to and many are capitalist "pigs" just like the majority of people in the U.S.A.. Nurses wanting more and or fair wages has nothing to do with Quality outcomes, its about taking care of themselves and thier family. Was there a rescession recently? If you worked and or ran books @ the U of M you wouldn't know that as the revenue has increased every year since the reccesion started, so trying to apply this as any form of a reasonable argument to expecting cuts for staff is entirely mute. Doesn't apply. In a round about argument dismissing all facts you could argue that profit margin has decreased, and therfore warrants cost cutting. Yet when you realize a 0.6 drop in profits also funded a 750 million dollar building project and the hireing of 500 more employees to staff said project with no realized revenue collected from said venue, a drop in profit should be expected. I'm pretty sure I could find a laundry list of Experienced people that can do your job so you should take a pay cut. That's just a bad argument and if instituted to full effect in this country expect to be on par with China's wages before the end of this Decade with a continued crumbling of the economy. For the record, there are many Jobs requiring degree's and licensure that are currently understaffed including nursing. Also the hospitals you talk of were primarily private institutions were most affected by reductions in insured workers not public institutions. Healthcare and nursing have grown during the recession.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.

So, polyjuice, your argument is that U-M nurses should put a sock in it because other hospitals shaft their nurses so it must be okay? If the "Michigan Difference" is going to be ANYTHING other than a joke, it's time for UMHS to step up and take care of the people who take care of the patients. Your care will be better if the nurses don't have to worry about how to pay their bills, what to do when they are scheduled for shifts during which they don't have child care (after all, they don't schedule themselves, and UMHS plans to make it INCREDIBLY difficult for them to trade shifts with one another) and buffing up their resumes because they're sick of working for a place that values their contributions so little. As they say, it's not the doctors who keep you from dying, it's the nurses. Personally, I'd rather they have fabulous job security so they CAN concentrate on their work.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

@ Meg You (and others who are obviously nurses) continue to dance around the issue of wages and its connection to patient care. "Cutting salaries and making schedule changes more difficult isn't valuing employees; it's management flexing its muscle to make sure the workers don't ask for what they're worth." Oh my, schedule changes? Wage cuts? What magical sheep skin has been over your eyes since this country entered into a regression in 2008? I guess you missed the news that thousands of other hospitals around the US have had to make nursing and staff cuts to remain profitable and open for their communities. So sad.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 5:40 p.m.

@polyjuice: You missed the nursing shortage news. So sad; it's been one of the top concerns for over a decade in health care and was part of the subject of the recent IOM report on nursing. Also, you seem to be assuming that nurses are interchangeable. That's okay; people smarter than you and with more experience in health care make that mistake a lot. There may be a lot of nurses in the US, and we may have many options on where to work, but we're not interchangeable, any more than a first-year resident is interchangeable with an attending with a decade of experience. Think about it: Do you want any nurse, or do you want the best nurse, when it's your wife or child or mother or uncle or friend? UMHS nurses are skilled, experienced and educated. They deserve to be treated as the valuable professionals they are. Cutting salaries and making schedule changes more difficult isn't valuing employees; it's management flexing its muscle to make sure the workers don't ask for what they're worth.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

Without the benefits that we have in place at this time alot of nurses will not want to work here. You have to pay to park.... then you have to ride a bus into work? (they are taking away our parking in Nov. when the new hospital opens). Then we make lower wages when benchmarked against other hospitals in the area. (our acuity is much higher). The retirement is the big draw BUT they want it writtn that they can chnage that at any time,(I would say that would be about a month into the new contract, if it were to pass). This will make people not want to work here which leads to short staffing which leads to increased pt load for nurses and more burnout.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.

@Meg In regards to your statement "The strongest predictor of patient outcomes is nursing care, specifically the nurse-patient ratio. Experienced nurses have options. If UMHS can't attract and keep expert nurses, they will lose quality. " This again, has nothing to do with salaries. If all experienced nurses are looking for is the highest bidder, then how can we say they are truly committed to quality? When you work for a leading health care provider, the argument of dwindling patient care doesn't make sense when you have the best of the best at your disposal to perform your job. There are many other "experienced" nurses around the country that would be willing to accept your position.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

What type of job do you expect done when you cut someones pay? If I cut your monthly income (and myself take a bonus) are you going to continue to care and give 100%? Seriously, did you really need me to put that in writing? I am an RN, BSN, CCRN

David Paris

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 12:40 p.m.

@Meg: Nice credentials Meg, I know you don't see THAT an any run-of-the-mill hospital you walk in to. Keep up the good work!


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 10:43 a.m.

The strongest predictor of patient outcomes is nursing care, specifically the nurse-patient ratio. Experienced nurses have options. If UMHS can't attract and keep expert nurses, they will lose quality. This is not a pay increase. This is an attempt to keep from having pay effectively cut. And yes, I am a nurse: CNM, RN, BSN, MN, BA, current PhD student.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 4:02 a.m.

Some of these 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 even related, e.g.: the new hospital building, the wage rates of people in other roles, the profitability or loss in the health system, etc. The fact is, ALL university 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 in their silly red scrubs. Those that claim they are the ONLY "Michigan Difference" or THEY drive an hour to work, or they comfort the ill they must therefore deserve special treatment are ridiculous. It's their job -- their chosen profession. Every individual who works has to drive to their job, carry out it's assigned duties, and pay for their health care. These nurses show themselves to be out of touch with current economic conditions and really with reality if they think they are entitled to anything. They earn a wage based on economic value and pay benefit premiums based on economic cost factors.


Mon, Sep 19, 2011 : 4 a.m.

No Dennis, I think nurses should pay the same benefit premiums as every other UM employee does. Nobody's premium is set based on their pay level. It's set based on the cost of the plan they choose and there are 4 different options and price structures available. I also don't believe nurses should be paid for PTO days when the are on short-term disability. Who earns time off when they aren't even working? Finally, I think nurses should be on the same retirement plan as the rest of the UM community - why should they be the only group to have a different or special retirement program. That's what I think, so don't infer otherwise.


Sun, Sep 18, 2011 : 5:27 a.m.

Rob you should look at what has and is being said prior to sticking your foot in your mouth. Not everone pays the same for insurance. The nurses would pay as much as someone making 600,000. Also do you have a prejudice against red? I think you do, just likeyou do against thu nurses that are upset that they are being asked to take cuts while the others have been given increases in pay of 3 to 13 percentwithout havingto take pay cuts.


Sat, Sep 17, 2011 : 7:14 p.m.

Nope, I actually admire doctors, nurses, and others in clinical care positions for the work and professional care they provide. They do amazing work! I just think they should not receive entitlements that other UM employees, and most other Americans, don't receive in terms of their benefits. If all UM employees are paying the same rates for their benefit programs, the nurses should join in and pay their fare share -- that is the American way. That is the Michigan Difference.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 8:54 p.m.

Yeah, yeah, that's just what it means Rob. Yep. Are you one of the whiners who gripes when survival flight flys over your house and disrupts your grilling for a couple seconds. What do you have against people who save lives???


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

Yep, red means stop the nurse's union abuses right ?


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

Oh Rob, all I can say is I am glad you have seen our red scrubs. That tells me they have done the job getting our message out there. Glad you like them.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 2:41 a.m.

The University wants to strip the nurses of all these things so we are "just like everyone else". They are doing it in hopes of busting up the union. Because why do you need a union if you have no better benefits than non union workers. They would love to have the union be a thing of the past.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 2:26 a.m.

Average nursing salary. 65,570. Here are a list of the salaries of senior leadership at UMHS. 721,000 509,000 600,000 425,000 440,000 206,000 280,000 Shame on nurses for not wanting to take away what they have earned. Why not have these people take pay cuts? No one talks about that right. Can you say DOUBLE STANDARD!!!


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 8:50 p.m.

What do cuts in benefits and salary that have been forced upon other workers at the UMH have to do with the Nurses not agreeing to the same cuts???


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 7:52 p.m.

What do the salaries of people in other JOBS have to do with your jobs?


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 1:23 a.m.

<a href=""></a> HMMMMMMMMMMM!


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 4:40 p.m.

I just don't think she deserves praise for donating the money ohh ahhhhhh she's so generous! And you do worry about my money since you are on here, complaining about what we are asking for as a group!

Michigan Man

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 12:16 p.m.

snob - none of your business what Mary Sue does with her money - not of your business what I do with my money. What do you do with you money? If you are so benevolent toward this cause - produce your plastic and them em all out - I am sure the U of M nurses union knows how to operate a credit card machine.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 2:38 a.m.

She can afford to be, she donated half of my yearly take home pay. I wonder what she will do with the other $230,000?


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 2:05 a.m.

Yes, that Mary Sue sure is generous!


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 12:47 a.m.

What many in the community don't seem to understand is that everything we are fighting for will benefit you as a patient in the long run. We cannot stand by while the quality of nursing care becomes less than what it is now. That is why we chose U of M in the first place. If you want a nurse that feels it is &quot;OK&quot; that she/he cannot give 100% due to the circumstances he/she is forced to work under, then feel free to go to another hospital where that level of commitment is acceptable. And snapshot's comment about profits not going back to employees, what about the generous salary increases for the administrators @ U of M? The nurses @ U of M are committed to giving 100% to their patients.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 7:51 p.m.

Don't lecture the community about what WE understand ... it's very clear what we understand --- that nurses and their union are out to get what they can get for themselves, regardless of the fact that EVERY OTHER employee of UM will be paying the same amount for benefit premiums and nurses feel they should be paying less for some unknown reason. Nurses feel they are alone the Michigan Difference because they drive to work, they have people vomit on them, because others in different jobs make more then them, because new buildings have been built, because some units have been profitable, etc. It's ridiculous. The benefits have a cost to the university and should be fairly shared by all employees at the same rates, just as they are in nearly every business across the country.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 2:41 p.m.

@Meg Once again, how does the increase of your pay attribute to the quality of care patients receive? Does my accountant go on strike and say he'll muff up my numbers because he's not getting paid what he wants? Do auto workers fasten bumpers on backwards because they had to take concessions? And whats this about working for &quot;free&quot;, is 30/hr FREE? I have YET to hear one good answer as to HOW increases in nurses salaries attribute to quality care. The truth is this: Nurses do not provide the instrumentation, tools, and facilities needed to do their jobs, the administration does, along with the fees patients pay. If there was a shortage of supplies, MRI machines, and X-Ray machines, I could see how picketing would be effective. But you work at one of the nations best facilities with state of the art technology. How then can we say that PAY or anything to do with benefits denotes the quality of the job done? If all you want is a raise, then don't involve &quot;patient care&quot; into the scenario, unless money is a motivator on how many lives you will save today.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 1:45 p.m.

polyjuice, I'm sure your doctor doesn't work for free. I'm sure your lawyer doesn't either. I trust your accountant doesn't do that work out of the goodness of his heart. Why are nurses different? We do hard work. Patient outcomes are positively associated with quality nursing care, but we're not the only contributors to preventable deaths. In fact, if you look at that data, physicians are significant contributors. But why would you want to do that when you can shake your finger at the uppity nurses?


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 5:46 a.m.

What about those administrators? Your not one of them, they run the &quot;administration&quot; and you care for the &quot;patient&quot;. As a nurse, aren't YOU responsible for the quality of the care patients receive? How is this related to how much money you make or how happy you are with your benefits? The only way &quot;nursing care&quot; can decrease is if the nurses choose to value wages over peoples well being.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 12:46 a.m.

Many fine and skilled people have been laid-off from top-notch companies so that they could hire &quot;Entry Level&quot; people to do the same job. Yes, they did not do the job as well but they were 1/2 the price and the companies could pick the best and brightest. What's makes Nurses think that they are any better? In a few weeks, everybody will forget the old way and accept the new way. Just like they do at Ford, GM, GE, AT&amp;T etc Sorry Nurses!

David Paris

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 12:24 p.m.

&quot;You know, If all of us could go into our bosses office tomorrow, hold up a banner and stomp on the ground like 5th graders and say &quot;no fair, you make more money than me!&quot; I'm sure we all would.&quot; No, you wouldn't, because if that were true, then you would support people who work for a living over enormous corporate entities, rather than just point fingers and say &quot;no fair, you make more money than me!&quot;.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 6:22 a.m.

@David You know, If all of us could go into our bosses office tomorrow, hold up a banner and stomp on the ground like 5th graders and say &quot;no fair, you make more money than me!&quot; I'm sure we all would.

David Paris

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 1:47 a.m.

Sour Grapes^10. Then, there's This: &quot;Yes, they did not do the job as well but...&quot; Personally, I have a little more self respect than that. I mean, I kinda want a nurse that knows what they're doing... I'll pay a couple bucks for for that.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 1:32 a.m.

@jill Many other &quot;highly educated&quot; and &quot;experienced&quot; people in this world have placed the good will of their organization in front of their own greed for the greater good of the community, and the longevity of the company. If the nurses cared about better &quot;patient care&quot; they would not be asking to receive raises simply because the hospital posts a profit. Pay level should have NOTHING to do with how well a patient is cared for, your job is not to worry how much the board of administration makes, which seems to be all the nurses are concerned about. "If you undercut the respect for our profession, we will leave. We will go elsewhere because we have no choice U-M nurse Julie Morrissey told the regents during their meeting. Does she not think there are another thousand unemployed nurses or new grads that will be more grateful to have her position? And how is the boards actions of ensuring that the financial security of the hospital remains stable a &quot;undercut&quot; of her profession? The only thing that was undercut was her ego. Get real


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 1:24 a.m.

Well if you can hire someone with no education to do the job of a nurse...... oh wait you can't! It requires education unlike most of the auto workers!


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 12:55 a.m.

Do not compare me as a highly educated and experienced Nurse to an Auto worker we are not in any way even remotely similar!!


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 12:35 a.m.

Stephen, you don't speak for all patients. I am a UMHS patient. I want excellent nursing care and I want the nurses compensated for their expertise. The nurses have my full support and I hope UMHS gets it together and does the right thing.

Michigan Man

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 12:20 a.m.

If the U of M nurses want/need/choose to leave that is fine with many, many healthcare patients and consumers. We have a number of fine academic medical centers and leading community hospitals where patients would be directed toward. If you are unhappy with your work, working conditions and the like it is best if you move on. Patients do not like angry, unhappy union nurses. We are afraid that you may take your anger out on innocent patients who currently trust the healthcare system.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 9:17 p.m.

Stephen, do you by any chance see that there might be a problem with forcing any worker into working extra hours, especially after working a 12 hour shift in a high stress, life and death profession such as nursing? I mean, I really do not see what your problem is with nurses. What do you have against people who went into a life saving profession? Why do you care that they want to stand up for themselves and their profession??? Yeah (before you come to use your profound intellegence to figure it out), I am a UHM Nurse and I will take care of you with the highest standard of care possible, regardless of if I am angry, exhausted or under paid, no matter how mean, angry and nasty you may be.

David Paris

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 12:35 p.m.

Stephen, there are a number of factors obviously that would contribute to your 100,00 number. One of those factors is nurse to patient ratio, another would be inexperienced/unqualified staff. The university is always trying to hire nurses- dozens of job openings at a time, all the time. The lower the standard of living for nurses, the harder it will be to close the manpower gap. Why not support the nurses, what do we have to lose?


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 9:46 a.m.

@ Stephen so you believe nurses kill pts?

Michigan Man

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 2:40 a.m.

David - As I understand, recent data, supported by most in the healthcare field, suggest in our nation alone we have 100,000 preventable deaths in hospitals/healthcare systems in any give year. Nurses who are pissed off, consumed by anger at those who are higher on the healthcare food chain than they are, more interested in union activities than professional development are, of course, prone and at risk for making errors which will harm, if not kill, innocent patients. With this nursing mess going on the the U of M health system, it is, of course, going to spill over into the patient care and clinical side. One would be foolish to think that many of the U of M nurses who go to work tomorrow can park their hostility, feelings and anger at the door when they hit the bedside of the patient.

David Paris

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 2 a.m.

I'm not a nurse, but to think that any nurse, anywhere would take their anger out on their patients is inconceivable. Also, to think that high turn-over in nursing is good for the patient is similarly wrong. I don't think that you are on the side of the patient, but on the side of unfair labor practices, anti-employee in other words, and why is that? And I know people very well that are of the same mind-set, but I just don't understand-why. If you're not a Billionaire, then why would you want to drive down wages &amp; benefits? It's a question for the ages.

Michigan Man

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 1:46 a.m.

David - Let me guess - you are a nurse employed by the U of M hospital system? Your comment relative to my post reinforces to me that my post was right on target - seems to have struck a nerve with you? About time the U of M nursing crowd listened to what patients have to say. Patients are the reason for the hospital - not the nurses. The hospital does not exist, as its primary mission, to keep the nurses happy. If the nurses are pissed off, for whatever reason, move on - that is fine with millions of compliant, responsible, insured and uninsured patients.

David Paris

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 1:33 a.m.

&quot;We are afraid that you may take your anger out on innocent patients who currently trust the healthcare system.&quot; Your entire statement is wrong-headed, but this quote is the most repulsive that I've seen in a long time. But, then again, that's just my opinion...


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 12:19 a.m.

Just so Keri Baker knows, Pescovitz can be fired at will and belongs to no union, so maybe if Ms. Baker wants to relinquish her employment security and union affiliation and base her service on patient success only, then she needs to stop comparing herself and other nurses to management. In addition, when the hospital, which is a government entity, shows a profit that profit definitely should not go to employees, but back into the institution to better serve the public. Employees have no right to be demanding increased benefits just because the hospital shows a profit. That's every Michigan citizen's investment and they deserve a return also. Julie Morrissey should feel very privelidged to be threatening to leave her employment if she doesn't get what she wants. It shows how much job security she has through the government and the union. I'm thinking you should just leave now Ms. Morrissey, because I don't want a begrudging, and disgruntled nurse caring for me. This attitude of these nurses makes me uncomfortable should I ever have the misfortune of becoming a patient. I'm sure it'll be easy to get another job within 50 or 100 miles, sell the house, move the kids, or commute 4 hours a day, or maybe get an apartment 5 days a week in another town. Ms. Morrissey is not going anywhere so I'm hoping the hospital holds it's ground.


Mon, Sep 19, 2011 : 6:42 a.m. keep working and roll with the economic flow, much better than NOT working and tim....what the heck do you mean? Are you actually trying to compare nursing with hospital administration at the executive level? I'm all in support of nurses but they are not Gods, nor immune from economic necessities for cost containment.


Sat, Sep 17, 2011 : 2:22 p.m.

Peskovitz has a contract. If he is &quot;fired&quot; the hospital will have to fulfill the terms of that contract. Just like they do in the nurses contract.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 1:03 a.m.

The nurses are not &quot;demanding increased benefits.&quot; We are demanding to maintain our status quo.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : midnight

Nursing is a highly skilled and demanding profession. I fully support the UM nurses in these negotiations.


Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 9:44 a.m.

I care about having valuable resources to care for my high accuity patients.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 2:46 a.m.

If they were truly professionals, they would not join a union and they would never, ever strike. They don't care about the patients. All they care about is their own pocketbooks.