March 16, 2010, Kalamazoo, MI - The Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) has filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo due to actions by the hospital's management in regard to the nurses' contract negotiations. The charges range from bypassing MNA as the exclusive bargaining representative to a removal of all patient and employee protections from the collective bargaining agreement to harassing the nurses using interrogative tactics and videotaping them while engaged in protected union activities.
"Nurses are the last line of defense to advocate for hospital patients at the bedside but Borgess management wants to take that away," said John Karebian, MNA Executive Director. "In recent hospital publications, management has praised the dedication and professionalism of Borgess nurses," Karebian added. "If the intent of these statements is true then the Hospital should end its campaign of intimidation and coercion."
The Unfair Labor Practice Charge makes the problem quite clear. "Borgess Medical Center has threatened and coerced employee s in the exercise of their statutory rights; has interfered in the administration of a labor organization in a purely internal Union matter; has failed to bargain in good faith; and has engaged in a premeditated course of conduct in violation of the National Labor Relations Act."
"We have worked diligently to advocate for a contract that demands that patient safety and quality of nursing care are paramount," said Pat Meave, RN. "This cannot be accomplished without the assurance that the very nurses that practice at the bedside are respected, valued, and included in the decision making about their practice. The decision by the management of Borgess Medical Center to attempt to take away the existing assurance of the voice of the nurses at the bedside without just cause shows a disregard and disrespect for the profession of nursing and the nurses that practice in their facility. It's an insult to our intelligence and our dedication."
The Michigan Nurses Association is the largest, most effective union for RNs in Michigan. As the voice of all registered nurses in Michigan, MNA advocates for nurses and their patients at the State Capitol, in the community and at the bargaining table. MNA is a constituent member of the National Nurses United and an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.