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UPHS-Marquette techs vote for union

By Journal Staff

MARQUETTE — Techs at UP Health System-Marquette voted on Monday to form a union with the Michigan Nurses Association, the organization announced.

The techs won their union with 92% voting yes in a 159-13 count.

“By voting to form a union, we have won a voice, and we want to use that voice to advocate for our community,” said Katlyn Lafrinere, a cardiovascular radiologic technologist, in a statement. “We are ready to speak up for each other and for what our patients need.”

This is the third facility of health care workers in the Upper Peninsula that has voted to unionize with the Michigan Nurses Association since the start of the pandemic. Nurses at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital and health care professionals at the Chippewa County Health Department both successfully voted to join MNA within the past year.

“The past year of COVID crisis has really brought us together and shown us how much stronger we are when we are united,” said Kerri Beckman, a medical technologist, in a statement. “We all need each other to keep moving forward. With a union, we will be able to retain quality employees to make sure that we can always provide the kind of patient care our community deserves.”

Unionized Marquette techs will be joining the approximately 400 registered nurses at UPHS-Marquette who are also members of the Michigan Nurses Association.

“We are thrilled to welcome techs at UPHS-Marquette into our union,” said Jamie Brown, a registered nurse and president of the Michigan Nurses Association. “We know that we are strongest when we are united together.”

Stephanie DePetro, RN, vice president of the Michigan Nurses Association and president of the local bargaining unit of MNA nurses at UPHS Marquette, said in a statement, “We are so excited that the techs at our hospital have won a collective voice. MNA nurses and techs will not be afraid to speak up together to advocate for the well-being and safety of our patients.”

Negotiations for a first contract for Marquette techs are expected to begin soon. The contract for nurses will expire in less than a year. MNA said previously nurses had to go on strike in order to win a fair contract from UPHSMarquette. Both nurses and techs say that they hope that UPHS will not push them to that point during their respective contract negotiations.

UPHS-Marquette on Monday issued a statement on the union election.

“Today, the UP Health System-Marquette technical employees had an opportunity to vote on the question of union representation, and they have assigned their collective bargaining rights to the Michigan Nurses Association,” it said.

“We respect that decision and will negotiate in good faith for a mutually acceptable collective bargaining agreement that reflects the realities of today’s challenging healthcare environment.

“In the meantime, please rest assured that we will not be distracted from providing excellent care to our patients and community.”

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