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.