‘It is a big problem’: Nurses speak on strike authorization

Nurses at McLaren in Lapeer have authorized a strike to try to pressure administrators into negotiating a more favorable contract.
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 10:25 PM EDT
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LAPEER CO., Mich. (WNEM) – Nurses at McLaren in Lapeer have voted to authorize a strike to try to pressure administrators into negotiating a more favorable contract.

“One hundred percent of us voted that we are so concerned about safe staffing in this hospital and are not happy with where negotiations are right now that we are willing to walk off the job,” said Carla Berry, an ER nurse at McLaren.

Nurses are prepared to strike because of a lack of staffing and hospital rooms, but before any walkout occurs, union members would have to notify McLaren executives 10 days in advance.

Related: McLaren Lapeer nurses vote to authorize strike

Berry said current conditions make it impossible for nurses to work effectively in Lapeer County’s only hospital.

“Every department has their level of how many patients per nurse, and quite frequently, we are short nurses, and so we’re taking care of more patients than we are supposed to and not able to give them the care that they need,” Berry said.

She attributed the lack of nurses to poor administration and policies within the healthcare industry overall.

“It’s become too hard of a job,” Berry said. “They have put us in impossible situations with no assistance or not much assistance and not many people want to do this job anymore.”

Berry cited a recent study showing the potentially dangerous effects of low staffing.

“The MNA commissioned a survey of Michigan nurses and 42 percent of nurses have at least one example of a patient who died because of not enough staff. And that’s doubled since 2016. So, it is a big problem,” Berry said.

Registered nurses at McLaren have been working under an expired contract since May 9. Negotiations will resume Monday, June 4. Nurses will then decide whether a strike is necessary.

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