The Michigan Medicine nurses contract fight and the right to strike

The Michigan Medicine nurses contract fight and the right to strike
ADVERTISEMENT

On July 26, in response to the call by the World Socialist Web Site for nurses at Michigan Medicine to go on strike to win their demands, a reader with the username of “Union Nurse” submitted the following comment:

“Apparently WSWS is ignorant to Michigan Labor Laws that prohibit public sector employees from striking. Not really surprising given their clear anti-union stance.”

Below is our reply.

The right of nurses at Michigan Medicine to strike is an important issue and has been addressed in several recent WSWS articles, including our report on the June 30 expiration of the contract and our report prior to the July 16 rally and informational picket organized by the union , the Michigan Nurses Association and its local affiliate, the University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council (MNA-UMPNC).

Hundreds of Michigan Medicine nurses and their supporters participated in an informational picket of the hospital facilities in Ann Arbor, Michigan on Saturday, July 16, 2022 to demand an end to the staffing shortage and a new contract which expired on June 30.

Both the Hutchinson Act of 1947 and the Public Employment Relations Act of 1965 declared strikes by public employees in Michigan illegal. However, these laws have never stopped public employees from striking. According to one studyas of November 25, 1988, there had been 820 public-sector strikes in Michigan over the previous 23 years, 80 percent of which were by university educators and public school teachers.

Even under these laws, as the MNA-UMPNC has pointed out, the nurses can strike legally if their action is deemed to be a response to unfair labor practices by Michigan Medicine. While there is no question that Michigan Medicine is engaged in unfair labor practices—for example, the union has reported that more than 800 Assignment Despite Objection (ADO) complaints filed by nurses remain unresolved—the MNA-UMPNC has refused to even take a strike vote.

ADVERTISEMENT

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.