Recorded Sep 2, 2021. Listen to the town-hall and vote UMPNCIU. Ballots due by Sept 23rd!
VOTE DATE ANNOUNCEMENT!
Today the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) announced that our election to gain our right to self-determination will occur from September 2nd to September 23rd! This vote will be one of the most consequential decisions you make in your professional career. The election will be conducted by MERC through a mail ballot. Every eligible nurse should receive a mail ballot. You will have to fill out the ballot and mail it back to MERC through the U.S. Postal Service.
The ballot will have three choices on it: University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council Independent Union (UMPNC-IU), Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) and its University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council (UMPNC), or no union.
We encourage every nurse to continue to choose our independence and vote for UMPNC- IU. This vote is about one thing, and that is whether to leave MNA/NNU or not. Join what your elected committee and a majority of nurses know; UMPNC-IU is better off securing our autonomy and being independent rather than being with MNA/NNU.
We will make history together.
Keep an eye out in the mail for your ballot. Ballots will go out on September 2nd and they must be turned in by September 23rd. The ballots will be mailed to your most recent mailing address provided to MERC by Michigan Medicine. If you are unsure if Michigan Medicine has your most recent address, contact HR to update your address.
Part of the election rules are neither side are supposed to be in the hospital units campaigning or using our dues money to bribe nurses with food. We are here to help. Visit our website for more information or reach out to one of your elected UMPNC representatives with questions.
MNA decided to affiliate with NNU (the California nurses union) in a rushed meeting under cover of night with no input from members. As a result, UMPNC members voted to condemn MNA’s secretive and haphazard affiliation with NNU. UMPNC members were especially infuriated because of the lack of attention MNA had given to UMPNC, and this decision just compounded the frustration.
UMPNC won the disaffiliation vote by an overwhelming majority. UMPNC became an independent union. MNA/NNU didn’t want to lose the $4.3 million in dues that UMPNC Independent brought in annually, so they challenged the vote in court, forcing UMPNC Independent to have a MERC election.
MNA/NNU has continuously shown that they are not above lying to members, and this just about keeping $4.3 million annually. We know this is just about MNA/NNU keeping your dues money. It isn’t about us or our contract about their so-called solidarity: It’s about the money they want from us.
UMPNC has been standing with nurses since Margo Barron, a staff nurse at the U of M Hospital, worked with her colleagues to form a union in 1974. Margo Barron was the first Chair of the Nurse Council. Her fearless and fiery leadership was fundamental in the founding of the new organization and in forging the Agreement. Margo continued at the helm of the Nurse Council until 1991. Since Margo, we have had four other Presidents in our history: Deborah Stoll, Cheryl Johnson, John Armelagos, and Katie Oppenheim.
In 1974, UMPNC RNs had no collective voice to improve their working conditions, worked an unlimited number of consecutive days in a row and had multiple shift changes in a week. RNs were forced to work overtime without limits and seniority nurses were earning less than new hires. Back then, there were less than one thousand nurses working within the institution.
On April 12, 1976, approximately 850 RNs and APRNs won their first union contract. Now we are 6300 strong! The first contract provided a professional wage scale, limits on overtime, shift premiums, and safeguards against discipline. Since day one, our members have had well informed and confident representation and our contracts are the best in the country.
Our organizational structure and the involvement of our members has grown too. In addition to our executive officers, we have multiple area reps and district reps that work with members to advance their issues and help them problem solve.
UMPNC leaders are working nurses who understand our contract and the rights of fellow nurses. When they negotiate the contract, they have to live with the results as nurses working at our side. The most important thing to know about UMPNC is that YOU are the union. We are strong because our members participate in union operation and union activities.
On January 2, 2021, UMPNC held a vote regarding disaffiliation from the Michigan Nurses Association/National Nurses United. Nurses were disillusioned with their representation from the State Office. Almost 70% of voting UMPNC members chose to disaffiliate using their resounding, democratic voice to send a clear message that we would not accept an exclusionary State or National structure with corporate political goals and bigotry towards the democracy we believe so strongly in at UMPNC. We decided that the best union for us would be one devoted exclusively to representing Michigan Medicine nurses and operated by us. UMPNC is now an independent Union capable of developing and fostering relationships with organizations that share our values and commitment, with a bottom line of strengthening our power at Michigan Medicine.
There are many papers written on the corporatization of Unions and here at UMPNC we are putting that behind us. Experts have talked about a real revolution in the structure of organized labor and UMPNC has taken that on. Through our efforts, UMPNC will continue to strengthen our union here at Michigan Medicine and UMPNC nurses will be better represented because of it.
UMPNC nurses are stronger because of our alliances in the local community. We continue to foster a presence in our communities and it's not lost on our neighbors that what we do at the bargaining table makes a difference in the economic security of our community and the quality of the care that our patients receive. This common bond is what makes us strong.
We disaffiliated from the MNA/NNU because MNA seemed to forget that it was responsible to its members. As union members, we enjoy a broad set of rights similar in many ways to the rights found in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We tried repeatedly to work within the State structure and ensure that every member had an equal voice within MNA. We made recurring efforts to ensure that resources were returned to our nurses at Michigan Medicine to fund our Union programs and services. We sent 4.3 million dollars to the State only to learn, with zero communication, that a unilateral decision was made to send three quarters of a million dollars to California to the NNU. For those that are new to UMPNC, MNA chose to leave the NNU just four years ago along with the Massachusetts Nurses Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals because of their deceptions and blatant lies.
Now we can keep our money local and build our union without being encumbered by MNA politics in Lansing or NNU, a California based Union. We know there is a better approach. Most of us realize that the more we grow and actively participate in shaping the future, the better off everyone is. We know we won’t be a perfectly functioning democracy, but we know our union will reflect what our members really want. We are capable of doing more and creating more value for our membership.
We will hire our own staff and determine the union benefits that are important to our members. UMPNC will partner with community groups and our members will be ambassadors outside the workplace.
A Union is simply workers coming together as a single entity to make things better for everyone. Under the Public Employment Relations Act, we have the right to engage in union activity and join together with fellow nurses to improve working conditions.
Every nurse wants a safe and rewarding workplace where each and every one of us is treated with respect and dignity. Joining together as a union is what enables us to negotiate for higher wages and benefits, a safer workplace, and a voice on the job for better working conditions. Nurses at Michigan Medicine know from their personal successes that when we speak together we can accomplish more.
In today's healthcare environment, collective bargaining nurses exercise their voice and speak out. UMPNC gives us the power to do just that!