Sparrow Nurses, Healthcare Professionals Reject Contract, Authorize Strike

By: Alex Goldsmith Email
By: Alex Goldsmith Email

In a landslide, Sparrow nurses voted to authorize a strike if negotiations reach an impasse.

Jeff Breslin, president of the Michigan Nurses Association, says that wages was only a secondary reason that the contract was rejected. He says the primary concern was staffing levels.

"The final offer was a very concessionary proposal," said Breslin. "It's something that's unacceptable to our members, it's unacceptable to the community because it does not address concerns we have to keep the community safe when they come into the hospital."

A Sparrow executive WILX spoke to says that the offer was very fair. In a release from the hospital, Sparrow says they've offered a 10-13% wage increase over the life of the 3-year contract while asking for an increase in health care contributions. The union pegged that number substantially lower, a wage increase of approximately 4% over the life of the contract.

The next bargaining session won't be until next week at the earliest and there isn't a specific time or date set for that meeting.

""We look forward to getting back to the bargaining table next week and really getting at some of these issues so that we can provide the best care for people in our community," said Joe Ruth, Sparrow's Chief Operating Officer.

The union says there isn't a specific deadline for when they would strike. But both sides say they hope to avoid that.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by O.o on Nov 12, 2010 at 05:27 PM
    I think that the 91% rejection should tell the community about the proposal... LANDSLIDE vote... the proposal was not the sunshiny representation that is being reported here.
  • by Susan Location: Lansin on Nov 9, 2010 at 12:36 PM
    I have been a nurse for over 30 years and I spent 20 of those years working for Sparrow. Nurses have never been respected by Sparrow management, including the VP of nursing! That is so unfortunate! Come on, Sparrow. For once do the right thing and support your nurses. Someone once told me "hire a nurse, they work hard and get the job done!" Hear, hear!
  • by Kelly Location: Lansing on Nov 5, 2010 at 06:33 PM
    Sparrow nurses are phenomenal, and Sparrow Hospital has not and IS not bargaining in good faith. Instead of making a new gift shop and other unnecessary remodels with the $60 million made last year, PAY THE PEOPLE WHO PROTECT AND SAVE LIVES WHAT THEY'RE WORTH! I think they should strike and stand up fro themselves.
  • by Karen Location: Holt on Nov 5, 2010 at 12:33 PM
    10 to 15% raise over a 3 year period? That is more than generous in light of many workers in the area who have not received wage increases in 2 or 3 years and have begun to contribute towards their healthcare costs. That kind of raise is unconscionable...and the nurses rejected it? I'd like to hear their side of it.
  • by bigheartnurse Location: charlotte on Nov 5, 2010 at 09:17 AM
    The information Sparrow left out is their PR people have been there for every step of the way, figuring out how to spin it so they wouldn't look like the bad guy. Their wage increases equal 3.5% over three years, approximately 36 cents/hr for a top of the scale nurse, and yet they're taking away an important pay differential @ 34 cents/hr, equaling a 2 cent/hr increase. They agreed to increase staffing numbers in 2007, but have NEVER FILLED THE POSITIONS! They made 61 million last year and they can't even thank their staff for giving them Magnet status, making them a Level 1 trauma center, or just for doing an excellent job at what they do! The nurses don't have PR people, THEY HAD TO WORK!!!
  • by Jann Location: Central Michigan on Nov 5, 2010 at 08:51 AM
    When everyone is losing jobs these people can't concede a little and KEEP their jobs? Unreal!!! I'll cross picket lines if they call me and offer me a job! As a matter of fact---I'm calling them cuz I've been out of work since "another" hospital closed.
  • by erin Location: lansing on Nov 5, 2010 at 06:42 AM
    Wilx get your facts straight!
  • by Anonymous Location: Lansing on Nov 5, 2010 at 06:30 AM
    The fact is sparrow has reduced staff by not hiring to replace the RN's that are lost to retirement or just leaving. This has reduced the staff on the units and in departments that are important to good care. As for a wage increase, most RN will be loosing money. We will be required to pay more for our insurance, and we will loose about 200.00 on our retirement a month. Sparrow has not negotiated in good faith. They have refused to show up at the table, most of the time. I'm aware of how corp. America is treating their people, but this has to stop. Workers are being required to work more for less. But in the hospital we care for human lives.
  • by sad rn Location: lansing on Nov 5, 2010 at 04:39 AM
    When all the facts are known then the community will see how Sparrow is only telling half the truth. For experienced staff they will have less than a 3% raise, increased insurance, and a reduction to pension. Not the reward that 25 to 40 years of service should bring. We are a nursing magnet hospital and should be respected and rewarded for our contributation to Sparrow's good reputation in the community.
  • by Tina on Nov 5, 2010 at 04:04 AM
    just watched the morning news, whic I do every morning. I keep wilx on for our AM choice, but after this morning we have to change. Your incorrect information regarding the proposal Sparrow gave the HEALTH professionals is in correct. It would do everyone some good if you used facts. I am sure one of the MNA members would have given you the facts so you could report the TRUTH in your story. THIS is about a company that has been staffing the patient care areas with as little as possible STAFF, to save money. Save for their expansions, their profit shares, their new agreements with a HUGE cardiac/medical office/business.
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