MUSKEGON, Mich. — After unionized Mercy Health Muskegon workers voted to authorize a picket, amidst failed contract negotiations with the hospital’s owner.
Those employees say whether they picket depends on how negotiations with Trinity Health progress this week.
If things go well, they plan to hold off and if not, they intend to protest.
In an interview this evening, SEIU Healthcare Michigan said 100 percent of its tech unit and at least 98 percent of the other two units it represents voted in favor of this decision.
Workers started to vote on the possible picket last Tuesday after the two parties failed to meet a union-imposed deadline for a new labor agreement the day before.
Some of the workers’ demands include better raises, retention bonuses, and safe staffing levels, however, a respiratory therapist says in talks, trinity refuses to discuss those economic items.
Members said they decided to picket rather than strike, as they alluded to a few weeks ago, so they can continue to provide care to the community at a critical time.
“The staff and the colleagues have had it. Something needs to be done and trinity needs to step up to the plate and do what’s right.” Said Cyndi Zeanwick, a Respiratory Therapist at Mercy Health Muskegon.
In a statement in response to this announcement, mercy health Muskegon said “We are encouraged to see the negotiating teams increase the pace with multiple meetings last week. We have seven additional bargaining dates scheduled and we remain hopeful more progress will be made this week and next. Completing these contracts and taking care of our colleagues is a priority.”
Now if a picket happens, staff would do so on their own time, not during work hours.
They also invite the community to stand with them.
Law requires the union to give Trinity Health 10 days notice before they take any action, so it’s likely a few weeks away from happening too.