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Medical personnel voting on union

To the Journal editor:

During the early weeks of the pandemic, we waved, cheered, and paraded to celebrate our frontline workers in the medical profession.

However, that support needs to continue as medical techs at Duke Lifepoint, Marquette General Hospital are organizing to join the Michigan Nurses Association.

Our treasured front line medical personnel have been working soul-crushing, exhausting overtime shifts to care for all of us. They are not alone.

Lab techs, radiographers, respiratory therapists and many other medical staff stand right beside them in their efforts to serve community members during their most difficult times.

Ancillary hospital staff need union protections and every worker in the medical profession deserves better working conditions than they currently have, just as every local patient deserves the highest quality care.

Our community is isolated, and we depend on the life-saving care our local medical professionals can provide. However, the community is losing valuable personnel faster than we can train new ones to take their place. Duke Lifepoint must treat their staff better if we hope to have quality care and quality staff in our community.

These are the staff we interact with and depend on when we or our loved ones are ill. We need to trust our care providers,and to trust that their employers have done due diligence in making sure that staff are not dangerously overworked.

The best way to ensure local residents have access to well educated, well treated, well paid and well rested medical professionals is by giving them a real voice in the workplace.

It is paramount for the safety and security of our community and medical personnel that Duke Lifepoint bargains in good faith to ensure an expedient, fair and equitable contract with hospital employees. Time and resources management wastes to thwart unionization would be much better spent at the bargaining table in cooperation with a united staff.

I urge each and every citizen to keep up the applause for our medical front line. Support the Michigan Nurses Association, support the unionization of ancillary staff, support the Safe Patient Care Act (which would regulate forced overtime and nurse/patient ratios).

Support the PRO-Act, which would allow any type of worker who wished to unionize and have a voice in their working conditions. We at the Upper Peninsula Regional Labor Federation pledge solidarity and support with the MNA and ancillary staff at Marquette General.

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