The University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council ratified a new three-year employment contract with Michigan Medicine Wednesday night. The contract went into effect immediately.
The agreement, which has been in negotiations since January, outlines improved benefits for nurses. The Michigan Nurses Association announced in a press release the new contract increases sexual harassment protections and parental leave, limits mandatory overtime and allows nurses to select their own representatives to committees. The tentative agreement decided upon on Sept. 28 included a clarification to concerns regarding the Victors Care program.
“The contract also addresses concerns over the Victors Care program, concierge medicine for those who can afford to pay $3,600 extra per year,” the Michigan Nurses Association wrote in a press release. “The new agreement specifies that any revenues from Victors Care will be used to provide healthcare access for socio-economically disadvantaged patients.”
A press release from Michigan Medicine details the aspects of the new contract the 5,700 nurses who are part of the UMPNC agreed on. The agreement provides nurses with a 3 to 4 percent increase in salary, increased funding for tuition reimbursement, removal of inaccuracies of the payroll system and maintenance of health insurance and retirement benefits.
“The contract includes guidelines for staffing that continue Michigan Medicine’s commitment to excellent patient care, while allowing for flexibility to meet patient needs,” the Michigan Medicine release said.
UMPNC chair Katie Oppenheim said throughout the months-long negotiations, UMPNC became frustrated with the seemingly corporate attitude of Michigan Medicine. She said nurses are optimistic about the new contract and hope for collaboration and goodwill with management. Through this new contract, Oppenheim said the University will attract more nurses and will maintain a high standard of patient care.
“The new contract is a win for the entire community,” Oppenheim wrote in an email interview. “As a union, we achieved significant improvements for nurses and patients without sacrificing any of the benefits that make Michigan Medicine a great place to work… The agreement will attract and retain skilled RNs with an outstanding wage and benefits package. That is in the best interest of patients and the University as well. As a result of this agreement patients will see a continuation of world-class nursing care. They will also benefit (patients) because bedside nurses are more empowered to act as patient advocates.”