UMH nurses have tentative contract after big rallies

Oct 25, 2011

Four thousand University of Michigan Health System nurses will vote on a tentative contract next week.

Nurses have been working under an expired contract since June 30th.

Nurses’ union president Katie Oppenheim said details of the new contract will be released later, saying only, "We believe it’s an agreement that will provide improvements for our members."

The union reached an agreement after nurses held several large protest rallies in August and September. 

Asked if the rallies helped move negotiators to reach a settlement, Oppenheim said, "Absolutely.  We believe the activism of our membership has really helped."

Earlier this summer, officials with the union complained the University of Michigan Health System, with a budget in the black, was pleading poverty to wring concessions from nurses.

Nurses at public institutions like UMHS are prohibited from striking, but officials with the union threatened "other" types of work actions if a settlement couldn't be reached.

Officials with the University of Michigan Health System have remained silent during the negotiations, which included an arbitrator during the later stages.