Nurses, pharmacists vote on option to strike if deal isn't reach - WNEM TV 5

Nurses, pharmacists vote on option to strike if deal isn't reached

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

A strike could be on the way at one local hospital.

Nurses and pharmacists at Hurley Medical Center in Flint voted Wednesday night on the possibility to strike.

Organizers said the turnout was huge.

"We love our jobs. We love being nurses. We love taking care of our patients," said Mia Wentworth, nurse and voting chairperson for the RNRPH union.

She said being a nurse is a hard job, but it is one she wouldn't trade for the world. Right now her job is in jeopardy.

"It's extremely scary. Of course we all are working because we need a job. We wanna support our families," Wentworth said.

Wentworth and other nurses and pharmacists at Hurley cast their vote on whether they would be willing to strike if their union can't get a new contract with the hospital.

"This is to let the voices of our union be heard. We are 1,020 members strong and we've had a great turnout today," Wentworth said.

One of those members, Amanda Smith, said she voted yes.

"It shows unity," Smith said. "We've waited this long. We need them to negotiate. We need them to live up to their end of the bargain."

Megan Sherman, another Hurley nurse, said this could give them the edge they need.

"We want to continue being able to bargain and negotiate our contracts as they come. And right now we feel like that's not really happening," Sherman said.

The nurses and pharmacists have been working without a contract since June of 2016. They want the hospital to come back to the bargaining table.

Hurley would not comment on the issue, but referred to statements on its website.

One reads, "Management has been in at least 39 negotiation sessions with 213 hours scheduled in those sessions. Management, not Union Leadership, requested a state-appointed mediator when it became clear in December 2016 that that no progress was being made. Despite 8 negotiating sessions with a state-appointed mediator, no substantive progress was made."

Union members who were not able to make the vote on Wednesday will still be allowed to get an absentee ballot. The results of the vote will not be released for a few weeks.

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