Sparrow, Nurses To Negotiate Monday (UPDATED)

By: Jason Colthorp Email
By: Jason Colthorp Email

Thursday night the two sides seemed miles apart.

Nurses were accusing the hospital of coercing the rank and file to sign on to a new deal.

The hospital was accusing the nurses national union of using the local workers as pawns in a grand strike scheme.

They couldn't even agree on if there was a negotiating session Friday. News 10 was told by the hospital that negotiations would resume Friday morning at 10 a.m. It never happened.

"When we saw it in the paper it was the first we'd heard of it," said Ann Simcox of the Michigan Nurses Association.

However, Simcox said the two parties will in fact meet Monday.

The main sticking points according to the union, are the hospital's need for health care and pension concessions. The hospital thinks its final offer was more than fair.

"If Sparrow management continues with what they have shown us over the last two days, there won't be any kind of agreement before the 10-day notice is up," said Jeff Breslin, head of the Michigan Nurses Association.

While the good news is negotiating is going on, the relationship is strained. Nurses say the rank-and-file are being strong armed and scared into getting behind the hospital's offer.

"We have documents and those documents have their name on it," says Breslin. "They say if you strike for this amount of days, it will cost you this amount of money and you may not be able to come back."

The hospital admits to handing out informational fliers, but no one is being intimidated.

"I don't think that factual information is ever intimidating and I'm disappointed that anyone would think that," said Kelly Rossman-McKinney, spokeswoman for Sparrow.

The hospital is more concerned with the nurses national union affiliation-- National Nurses United. The hospital believes they're hard-line tactics, evidenced by strikes around the country, are the reason for the current stalemate.

"30 strikes in seven states in the last six months-- Sparrow is just part of the game," said Rossman-McKinney.

We'll find out if they can hammer out the differences on November 21-- the day the nurses will strike if there's no deal.

If there is a strike, Sparrow will bring in nurses from an agency at a much higher cost than the current staff. The hospital calls them "highly-qualified" while the union calls them "scabs."

The strike would start November 22nd at 7 a.m. and last two days.

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  • by Gee Location: everywhere on Nov 15, 2010 at 04:53 PM
    Sparrow nurses are being offered the same health and pension choices that the non union nurses at affiliates have had for the past two years. I agree with James - the union will be the failure of the true American worker.
  • by O.o on Nov 14, 2010 at 07:46 AM
    Joe- reality is the hospital printed out a 4 page flyer for each person in color with their name on it. If it was truly about giving out information.. a simple piece of paper would suffice. There are consequences for the hospital losing patients, and money. I also believe that there are consequences for patients having poor outcomes because resources are stretched to the limit inside that hospital.. those consequences could include patient death. Maddie- do you really think that nurses are that uninformed that they don't know what is going on... regardless of what you think.. this is to HELP the patients and the community. This is about more than losing holiday pay, or having no access to work, or being locked out. Open your eyes and look around, the "dreadful" economy obviously really impacted sparrow because there were ever 61MILLION in profits last year.. oh and they bought Ionia hospital, and TCI...sounds absolutely dreadful to me.
  • by Maddie Location: Lansing on Nov 13, 2010 at 01:12 PM
    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 Gary Location: Dimondale on Nov 13, 2010 at 07:00 AM
    There are 2 sides to every story and Channel 10 is only representing one side. I guess real reporting takes a back seat when your scratching the back of the people that allow you to put your camera atop of their hospital............
  • by Joe Location: Lansing on Nov 13, 2010 at 06:15 AM
    It isn't intimidation to provide a bit of reality. There are consequences to the hospital losing patients and business. This has more to do with the union having an agenda and wanting to push a strike and much less about the actual details of the proposed contract. This will hurt the health system and hurt everyone that works there. It is bad for patient care and bad for the community. This national union won't care though...they will just go on to cause trouble and flex their muscle at the next hospital.
  • by Kelly Location: Lansing on Nov 12, 2010 at 09:23 PM
    A two day strike? What will that accomplish? Why not strike until they get what they want? I don't get it.
  • by Ingham on Nov 12, 2010 at 07:16 PM
    If this thing comes down to a strike I'm going to Ingham Hospital from now on. Don't play games with our healthcare. Both sides need to get to work and reach a deal. If not, it's Ingham or Alliance for me and my family for now on.
  • by O.o on Nov 12, 2010 at 05:13 PM
    Jake Barnes-Just facts? Facts that have half truths put together to convince nurses that they could be fired or lose thousands of dollars if they don't agree to Sparrow's the proposed contract? That may not be intimidating to you..or feel like a threat to you.. but to those it affects, yea it feels like a threat. Stop playing chicken? I think playing chicken by short staffing nurses is the gamble everyone should be scared about. Edgar Allan Poe- find out where that 13% proposed raise is being offered and I think everyone would love that. How is that being computed? The offer was a 1% this year, 1.5% the next two.... that is WAY different than 13%.. but props to the PR dept at Sparrow, somehow they spread the word about a 13% raise... where they found that number I don't know because nothing like that was in the proposal.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 12, 2010 at 03:26 PM
    Sparrow made a HUGE profit last year! Nurses earned them Magnet recognition and now they are choosing to be greedy and attempt to play hard ball. We are not asking for a lot! Just a fair contract! And if you do not have all the facts you should keep your un-educated opinions to yourself!
  • by Zach Location: Eaton Rapids on Nov 12, 2010 at 02:39 PM
    I'm glad their standing up against this cheap corporation which makes lots o' money, they just would like profit ratio so they are cutting the fat. I work a local ambulance and my on call pay is 2.25 per hour if we had a union I would strike. I'm so tired we go get all this special training and certifications and then the intituitions get to take advantage of You. Strike on !
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