Nurses could strike if contract isn't reached soon - WNEM TV 5

Nurses could strike if contract isn't reached soon

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Another refusal by a local hospital board to negotiate with its nurse's union is raising tensions higher and pushing a strike vote closer to possibility.

Patient care could be left in the balance as medical professionals at Flint's Hurley Medical Center grow more and more frustrated.

The union's last contract expired June 30, 2016.

Since then the union claims they have been strong armed by a management practicing unfair labor policies.

"With the way this contract is looking and what they are offering and their last best offer, it's going to cost me a lot of money," said Kevin Fitzpatrick, nurse.

He previously worked at General Motors, but switched careers to become a nurse. He said it's because he wanted to help people, but now he believes the way he makes a living is in jeopardy.

Fitzpatrick said hospital executives continue to refuse to negotiate a new contract.

"As much money as this hospital is making as a non-profit organization, yet they want to continue to take from the nurses," Fitzpatrick said.

More than 1,000 nurses and pharmacists in the union held a press conference on Friday to air their grievances with hospital management.

"They continue to take retirement, take weekend benefits, take shift premiums, shift differentials. We are working 12, often 16 hour days," Fitzpatrick said.

He claims long hours and lack of staffing ultimately leads to poor patient care at the facility.

Pam Campbell, president of the nurse's union, claims the hospital will not communicate with them regarding the contract.

"We could have a very quick contract if we get to meet with them and talk with them and get some questions answered and they are refusing to meet with us," Campbell said.

TV5 reached out to Hurley and they issued the following statement:

"Despite the union's misleading charges and accusations, the questions remains: Why won't union leadership let their members vote on Hurley's contract offer?"

Yet, the union said the reason why they haven't voted on it is because there hasn't been a reasonable offer.

Fitzpatrick said Hurley has sent out a notice that the current expired contract will no longer be active in 60 days, leaving the union members with no protections. If no agreement is reached, nurses said there will be picket signs.

"I am definitely willing to strike if it comes down to that," Fitzpatrick said.

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