Nurses at UP Health System in Marquette, Michigan – run by Duke LifePoint – went on strike today to protest understaffing that has led to unsafe conditions for patients at the facility as well as the nurses who work there. In addition, they are demanding that the administrators of the facility begin bargaining with them in good faith on a labor contract. The nurses at UPHS, who are represented by the Michigan Nurses Association, have been working without a contract since July 28th.
In a statement, Scott Balko, an Operating Room RN and President of the UPHS Marquette RN Staff Council/MNA, explained why the nurses have been forced to strike:
We have said all along that striking is an extremely serious decision for nurses. We want to be at the bedside caring for our patients. Duke LifePoint has made it all but impossible to provide the care that the Marquette community deserves … Now is the time for Duke LifePoint to do the right thing for patients – guarantee safe RN staffing levels and a hospital environment that will attract and retain nurses for years to come.