Support the fight of University of Michigan nurses!
18 September 2018
Niles Niemuth is the Socialist Equality Party ’ s candidate for Congress in Michigan ’ s 12th Congressional District. Visit niles2018.com to donate and get involved in the campaign.
Workers everywhere must support the struggle of nurses at Michigan Medicine, formerly University of Michigan Health System, who are battling for adequate staff-to-patient ratios and for decent pay and health care benefits.
The 6,000 nurses have voted by a 94 percent margin to authorize a strike at the giant health care provider, demonstrating their determination to fight for safe staffing levels and decent compensation. However, they face an intransigent and ruthless management in the thrall of corporate interests and a trade union bureaucracy that will do everything in its power to divert and dissipate workers’ anger.
The University of Michigan Professional Nurses Council, an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association, is seeking to limit any job action to a token protests and job actions. At the same time, management is issuing threats that it will take legal action against nurses to prevent a work stoppage and is prepared to hire temporary staff—that is, strikebreakers—in the event of a walkout.
Management is seeking to increases the critical nurses-to-patient ratio, which is currently one of the best in the country for nurse staffing. Studies have shown that a patient’s risk of dying increases dramatically if nurse workloads are increased.
At the same time, Michigan Medicine is proposing a 3 to 4 percent pay increase over the next three years, a raise that falls far short of inflation. This, along with cuts in retirement benefits, amounts to significant concessions at a time when…