Negotiations On Hold; Sparrow Ready to Replace Nurses During Strike

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

Sparrow Hospital's team was sitting at the negotiating table at ten this morning. They say their understanding was this would be a formal negotiation. They even had a federal mediator in the room.

But the Michigan Nurses Association says it wasn't told about the meeting. It says the first they heard about it was when they read in the paper this morning.

Only one MNA was at the table Friday morning. The union says it was prepared to negotiate but that the hospital didn't confirm their meeting. That leaves both sides where they were not too long ago.

"The strike notice came after a couple days of what we thought were pretty productive conversations so we're pretty disappointed but frankly not surprised," said Sparrow Spokesperson Kelly Rossman-McKinney.

Rossman-McKinney says she doesn't know if the hospital can offer much more than what the union has already rejected---a pay increase of 10 to 13 percent and hiring about a 100 more nurses to address staffing needs.

"We've made a very generous offer in very tough economic times so our hope is they'll recognize that and accept it," she said.

She says with the costs of healthcare--Sparrow isn't in a position to pay more to cover its nurses. She says nothing in the way of negotiations is scheduled for the weekend. In the meantime Sparrow's management team is in "full preparation mode." They're taking the strike notice very seriously.

"We're getting ready to make sure we provide the same high quality care to all of our patients come Monday November 22, so we will be ready, able with top notch nurses," she said.

Those nurses will be coming in from all around the country. Sparrow has no choice but to prepare for a strike -- and that means making sure there will be enough able bodies to take over.

"These nurses will focus as all nurses should on caring for the patients first and foremost," she said.

Sparrow says the transition will be seamless and that patients won't notice any difference in patient care.

But the union isn't so sure. It says it finds it hard to believe that patients won't notice a difference in the care they receive from its nurses, who are familiar with the hospital, know their patients, and know the routines, versus what they will receive from outside replacement nurses.

An MNA representative also said it's surprising Sparrow says replacing so many nurses would be so smooth, especially when the hospital prides itself on its nursing staff.

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  • by One poor nurse Location: Illinois on Nov 16, 2010 at 10:36 PM
    As an RN for 8 years and working in several hospitals in different states, I have NEVER made more than 26 dollars an hour and work in a high risk specialty. It is also a higher cost of living here. However, instead of complaining about my crappy pay, I am just happy to have a job!! As to the post about "overpaid nurseypoos changing bed pans, he should get a life and come work in our shoes for 12hrs before running his mouth. There is a lot more to nursing, does doing cpr on an infant and saving it's life(w/no doctor around either) sound like just changing bed pans to you? Didn't think so.
  • by nurse Location: picket line on Nov 14, 2010 at 02:53 PM
    see ya outside the hospital Monday morning!! hope your new logo gets lots of news coverage while we are walking the line sparrow!!
  • by non anonymous on Nov 14, 2010 at 08:25 AM
    I support the nurses and professionals who work at Sparrow. Don't these Elite wannabes that run these companies realize ,if nobody has any money to spend on their services, their empire will fall eventually.
  • by O.o on Nov 14, 2010 at 07:31 AM
    grant- you say they are proposing a raise? yea look at the numbers.. oh wait you cant because the numbers the sparrow PR dept has released are false. For a critical care nurse that gets .36 cents more than a non-critical care nurse) that is going to get a 1% "raise", without factoring in the increase in insurance.. will lose almost 2,100 dollars of pay per year. does that sound like a RAISE to you? I can tell you that in my world, that is a pay cut no matter how what they tell the media. Joe- If you think nursing is about changing bed pans,go visit a family member in the hospital sometime..haha that's honestly laughable. If a doc says to give a check to make sure that there are no cross-allergies, that the dosage is correct for what its ordered for, that it was even ordered on the RIGHT patient. Nurses should not blindly follow doc orders.Many docs are residents, only been doctors for a few months..if you want to pretend like they know everything that's fine by me.
  • by Maddie Location: Lansing on Nov 14, 2010 at 07:22 AM
    I have news for the nurses, etc. If you strike on Nov. 22, it WON'T just be for 2 days. It will be a minimum of SIX days. That is the minimum amount of days you can strike and Sparrow must hire your replacements. They must commit to the minimum # of days to these people who come in and pick up your slack. So THINK about this carefully.....before you do it. No HOLIDAY PAY, not welcome in the building, no access to work. Your MNA state negotiators will be told this by Admin - let's just hope they pass it on to you !! The MNA are using you. They did this at Borgess in Kalamazoo, now they are using Sparrow, next they'll be on to Detroit hospitals. They want it to work at ONE of these hospitals so they can say "See, our tactics worked at __________. they'll work for you." Only problem is, they didn't work at Borgess. And they won't work at Sparrow. Be thankful you have a good paying job with benefits in this dreadful economy. Most of us wish we did.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 14, 2010 at 06:12 AM
    To John, Grant and Anne. Just another example of someone running off their mouth without knowing the truth. Shame on you. I'm sorry you have no work and your angry. Or your a CEO who's greedy. Rn's are needed in the hospital. Were the eye's and ears of the doctor. And this broadcast was published by the same people, including FOX news who are in bed with the greedy.
  • by an experienced Nurse Location: Lansing, mi on Nov 14, 2010 at 05:48 AM
    Professionals???? stop .. Look at the data and call the appropriate person that can answer your questions ...As I read it Sparrow is offering a General increase and a progression step increase . This is more than 1%... You have to add the TWO together and you will find that your increase is unbelievable in todays economy. Ask anyone and they would be pleased with your offer. Negotiate like Professionals and look in the mirror to make sure you are honest. YOU are so lucky... Wake up
  • by Lacy on Nov 14, 2010 at 05:04 AM
    Another Loss due to Unions! I remember working @ St Lawrence when Sparrow took Over. The merge cost many people there jobs and watched many with 20 to 30 years walking away from there jobs! This is what a Union gets you people , Strikes and loss of a job!
  • by Dan Location: DeWitt on Nov 14, 2010 at 03:50 AM
    Regardless if the 10-13% numbers are skewed or completely false, this union needs to realize that people all across the state (and nation) in the public and private sectors have had their wages and retirements cut and their health care costs increased. I am a government employee and a union one at that. I do enjoy the protection that a union affords. That being said the last two years I have had a 0% raise (as opposed to the standard 2-3% we were getting,) my health care pay ins have tripled, and our pay in to our retirement has increased from 2% to 10% of our yearly wage. Having these things happen sucks... However, in our case we weighed those options against having people with low seniority laid off and chose to put the welfare of others ahead our our personal gain. Face it, it's a tough economy and tough decisions have to be made. Just because they're nurses doesn't make them exempt from the same sacrifices that many people have had to make over the past few years.
  • by kathy Location: RN in the trenches on Nov 13, 2010 at 08:33 PM
    sparrow nurses are NOT some of the best paid nurses in the state!not by a very long shot.i have worked in all corners of this state and took a pay CUT when my family moved here.the hospital is exploiting the economic climate of the state to push their professional staff towards a contract that is unfair, unsafe and unnecessary.sparrow has enjoyed national recognition for a "magnet status" on the backs of their nurses and now are unwilling to recognize those efforts by treating them in a professional is the people that make this hospital a safe, caring, professional healthcare provider.the way management is handling this is very dishonest and destructive.
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