Union files labor charge

Michigan Nurses Association takes fight to National Labor Relations Board

MARQUETTE — The Michigan Nurse’s Association has filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board — making eight allegations against UP Health System-Marquette and it’s parent company Duke Lifepoint.

According to the NLRB website, the MNA alleges UPHS-Marquette engaged in “Coercive Actions; surveillance, etc, Concerted Activities; retaliation, discharge, discipline, Coercive Statements; threats, promises of benefits, etc. Coercive Rules, Repudiation/Modification of Contract, Changes in Terms and Conditions of Employment, Refusal to Bargain/Bad Faith Bargaining. (including surface bargaining/direct dealing) and Lockout.”

The signed charges against UPHS were filed on Wednesday, the NLRB site states, an initial letter to the both the MNA and UPHS was issued on Friday.

UPHS Regional Director of Marketing and Business Development Victor Harrington said hospital officials had not yet received official notification of charges from the NLRB.

“UPHS – Marquette has not been notified of any charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board and therefore cannot comment on any specific allegations or details,” Harrington said in an email. “Pending receipt of a charge, we would of course gladly work with the NLRB on appropriate resolution. It is not unexpected that the MNA would take this action, as it is a common pressure tactic unions use in conjunction with a strike. We do have three additional bargaining meetings scheduled in November, and we are ready to continue working together with the union to develop a new contract that meets the needs of our hospital, our nurses, and our community.”

MNA officials were unavailable for comment before press time.

In response to the complaint, the NRLB will conduct an investigation to determine whether formal action should be taken.

The nurses have been in contract negotiations with UPHS-Marquette since their previous contract expired in May. Bargaining has stalled over safe staffing levels, according to the local chapter of the MNA.

The bargaining stand-still culminated in a 48- hour nurses strike on Oct. 5-6.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.