A mid-Michigan union struck down a tentative contract agreement between union leadership and McLaren.

If a deal is not reached soon, patient care could be jeopardized if staff go on strike for a better contract. The contract was overwhelmingly rejected by a three to one ratio.

"There was a lot of issues still on the table that the members felt near and dear to their heart and they didn't get it. So, when it came time to the vote, and they saw the tentative agreement, you know it was overwhelming rejection," said Bill Somher president of AFSCME 2650.

Earlier this week, union members voted down a tentative contract agreement between union leadership and McLaren. AFSCME 2650 represents support service employees at McLaren Flint, McLaren Lapeer, McLaren Home Care Group, and McLaren physician satellite offices in Genesee and Lapeer counties.

Sohmer said one of the big sticking points was a one to 37 nurse aide to patient ratio. Sohmer said that is not safe for patients.

"You have patients that need to get up and use the restroom, but they need assistance. If they don't have someone there, most people, they're going to get up and try on their own because they don't want to be ashamed to soil themselves. And that's going to create a higher slip and fall rate," Sohmer said.

Sohmer said health insurance premiums, wage increases, and mileage reimbursements are other issues that need to be addressed. He said the option of a strike is still on the table.

"If all the support service employees walked off the job, it would all be left up to the RNs and the managers to take care of patients and to provide all of the services that our group provides," Sohmer said.

First, more negotiations are planned.

"I'm hopeful McLaren will come back to the table and hear what the members have said and provide a better contract or better tentative agreement for the members to vote on," Sohmer said.

Copyright 2021 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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