Nurses picket at McLaren Greater Lansing hospitals

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LANSING, MI (WILX) - McLaren Greater Lansing nurses are picketing after working without a contract for eight months.

OPEIU Local 459 says nurses are being stretched too thin.

"The hospital is looking at the bottom line as far as money goes and investing in the nurses is their most important investment," said Julie Murray, R.N., Local 459 chief steward.

"Nurses are being forced to stay over, sometimes working 16 hour shifts multiple days in a row. As much as nurses love their patients and love the hospital, they're just plain exhausted," said Jeff Fleming, Local 459 service representative.

The union and the hospital have been negotiating since October.

In a statement, McLaren officials said, "McLaren is committed to working with the union to reach a fair and competitive contract for their nurses.

McLaren began negotiations on a new contract almost a year ago and have reached agreement on numerous items with the nurses.

The hospital’s priority is to deliver safe, quality care to patients.

McLaren will continue to work with the unions that represent employees and meet the community’s healthcare needs.

McLaren Greater Lansing is operating normally during the union activity; there is no impact on emergency care or scheduled appointments."

With a new hospital in the works, nurses hope McLaren adds to its employee base, as well.

"McLaren is doing a great thing building this new hospital, but it's the nurses that provide the care, and so they need to invest in the nurses as much as they invest in the new hospital," said Fleming.

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