Nurse union files unfair labor practice charge

The Michigan Nurses Association filed an unfair labor practice charge alleging that OSF St. Francis Hospital in Escanaba, Mich., refused to bargain in good faith with its nurses.

A major sticking point is a nurse sick-leave proposal that went into effect without any signoff by nurses at the bargaining table. The 110-bed hospital wanted to cut 70 percent of the nurses' sick leave bank. Under the new plan, nurses must use 16 hours of their paid time off before dipping into the shrunken sick leave bank.

Other parts of the charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board claim the hospital threatened to punish the nurses economically by removing certain raises if nurses did not OK the contract offer by July 2, 2010.

John Karebian, who is executive director of the Michigan Nurses Association, called the charge a classic case of the employer "tightening their bottom" line on the backs of nurses. "The employer has shown no respect for the OSF St. Francis nurses and instead has threatened them and ignored their rights under the National Labor Relations Act," he said. "The lack of integrity shown by this employer is appalling."

A hospital spokesperson, Lanna Scannell, told Upper Michigan's Source that the charges are unfounded. They believe the National Labor Relations Board will agree, she said.

To learn more:
- read the Michigan Nurses Association press release
- here's the Upper Michigan's Source blurb

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