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Soo nurses OK second strike, backed by new strike pay benefit

10-day notice will be given before the start of an unfair labor practice strike

SAULT STE. MARIE — Nurses at MyMichigan Medical Center Sault have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a second unfair labor practice strike — this time of indefinite duration — with the backing of a new Michigan Nurses Association strike pay benefit to provide financial support.

Ten-day notice would be given if a strike is called.

The Soo nurses, who make up a local MNA bargaining unit, held a five-day ULP strike in April after months of bargaining; negotiation sessions on May 10 and May 29 did not produce an agreement. The nurses’ contract expired Dec. 31.

The nurses voted Wednesday and Thursday on the strike authorization.

“MyMichigan executives have done nothing to show they are willing to invest in a contract that values Soo nurses or resolves our unfair labor practice charges,” said Colleen Waucaush, one of the three Soo RNs who make up the MNA bargaining team. “Our union is stronger than ever. We are ready to do whatever it takes to get a fair contract so our hospital has enough nurses to take care of our community safely. MyMichigan executives need to feel the pressure and be held accountable for their actions.”

According to a union press release, MyMichigan’s proposals for Soo nurses fall short of fair market value and include nonwage concessions that mean many of the nurses will actually take a pay cut.

An 18th bargaining session is scheduled for Wednesday.

MNA’s member-elected board of directors, acknowledging the changing health care climate in which corporations increasingly focus on their bottom line to the detriment of all else, approved the new strike pay benefit this week for any qualifying MNA member.

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