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UPHS-M ancillary staff file to form union with MNA

MARQUETTE — Ancillary staff at UP Health System – Marquette have filed to form a union with the Michigan Nurses Association, the MNA announced Monday.

A supermajority of UPHS-Marquette ancillary staff filed paperwork with the National Labor Relations Board on April 26 to have an election to form a union with the MNA, according to an MNA news release.

“Should the unionization effort be successful, it would be one of the largest groups of health care workers to win a union through the NLRB since the start of the pandemic,” the release states.

If the plan comes to fruition, ancillary staff would be joining over 300 UPHS-Marquette nurses who are currently MNA members.

Stephanie DePetro, vice president of the MNA and president of the local bargaining unit of MNA nurses at UPHS-Marquette, said the decision is especially important amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nurses and health care professionals at UPHS – Marquette will have a stronger voice when we are united together as a union,” she said in the release. “The pandemic has made it crystal clear that every frontline worker needs a collective voice. We look forward to welcoming the ancillary staff at Marquette into our union family once they win their election and vote union yes.”

UPHS-Marquette officials responded to the Journal’s request for comment on Monday morning by releasing the following statement:

“The hospital has received an NLRB petition for an election to determine whether our technical employees wish to be represented by a union. We support and respect our employees’ right to make an informed decision on this question.”

UPHS – Marquette medical technologists Kerri Beckman and Peggy Lindeman, along with radiologic technologist Katlyn Lafrinere, also commented on the efforts.

“We have seen time and time again that the only way for our concerns to be heard is for us to unite together as a union,” Beckman said in the MNA release. “By coming together, we will be able to work towards retaining quality employees and therefore continue to provide amazing patient care while supporting one another.”

“We are forming a union not only because we want to be able to support each other, but also because we want to support our community,” Lindeman added. “We are proud to work in Marquette and want to always be able to provide the highest standard of care.”

Lafrinere reiterated those statements.

“The techs throughout the various represented departments in this hospital are so talented and dedicated to the community we serve,” she said. “I am excited to stand with my colleagues as we organize to win our union. We provide exemplary care and are proud of the work we do. A union will allow our voices to be amplified so we can continue to provide excellent care to our patients.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, two other groups of Upper Peninsula health care workers also successfully applied to form a union with the MNA, including nurses at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital in Laurium and health care professionals at the Chippewa County Health Department.

The NLRB has not yet scheduled an election for the matter.

Ryan Spitza can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. His email address is rspitza@miningjournal.net.

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