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McLaren Flint nurses preparing to strike next week if contract isn’t settled

About 1,000 nurses from AFSCME Local 875 say negotiations boil down to patients vs. profits
Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 5:38 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - The union representing around 1,000 nurses at McLaren Flint Hospital say they’re ready to walk off the job and strike next week if their labor contract isn’t settled.

The nurses say the ongoing contract battle boils down to patients vs. profits.

They say the hospital simply doesn’t have enough nurses and ancillary staff, so nurses are doing a lot more than what’s required of them. That in turn is putting patient health and safety at risk.

AFSCME Local 875 nurses at McLaren Flint have been working without a contract for about a month. Negotiations began in May, but no deal has been reached after five months. Hundreds of nurses could walk off the job on Nov. 5 if no deal is reached before then.

“Patients 100% of the time come before bonuses and profits, and that’s a huge issue right now,” said a nurse, who did not want to be identified for fear of losing her job.

The nurse said she and hundreds of others have been putting their lives on the line while trying to provide the necessary care to patients in the hospital. But at the same time, they claim hospital administrators are violating their current contract.

“Our administration doesn’t want to follow the contract that we have, and the contract we do have they want to strip down to almost nothing, and they want to make it all hospital policy, so that they have the ability to change it when they see fit,” the nurse said.

The union says the hospital has violated nurse-to-patient ratio guidelines and staffing levels have been stretched far too thin

“All the ancillary staff -- lab, transporters, nurse aides -- they’ve all been reduced and it’s all falling back on the nurse,” the anonymous nurse said.

The union says safety is also a major concern. McLaren Flint just started mandating that N95 masks be worn last week. The nurse added that the hospital has not provided enough personal protective equipment for workers during the pandemic.

She expects patient care at McLaren Flint will continue if the AFSCME Local 875 members go on strike.

“The patients will be taken care of by travel nurses and scab nurses who don’t care about their community," the nurse said. "We care about our community, we care about our staff and we care about the patients that are there.”

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