The Michigan Nurses Association has filed a lawsuit against Sparrow Hospital in Lansing on behalf of its unionized healthcare workers.
The charge of unfair labor practice was filed Wednesday with the National Labor Relations Board.
“We are completely fed up with the anti-union attitude of the Sparrow leadership,” said Jessica Lannon, grievance chair of the Professional Employees Council of Sparrow Hospital – Michigan Nurses Association and member of the MNA board of directors. “They keep trying to silence the voices of caregivers. The administration of Sparrow has too often crossed the line and should be held responsible.
The complaint alleges the hospital violated federal labor laws by telling workers they would cut benefits if they went on strike. It was after the union voted overwhelmingly in favor of allowing a strike if a contract is not reached.
Union members work at Sparrow on a contract that expired at the end of October.
The negotiating teams met last Monday in the hope of reaching an agreement, but the contract offered by the hospital was not accepted. The proposal involves an increase in wages but does not include changes in the cost of health insurance for workers, which the bargaining team is negotiating for.
“Sparrow’s actions can have real consequences for our patients. Our staffing situation has gone from bad to worse since they abandoned the secure staffing process in our contract, ”said Jen Ackley, emergency room nurse and member of the elected Sparrow caregivers negotiating team. “They should spend less time trying to illegally silence us and more time trying to work with us. Our number one goal as unionized caregivers is to ensure the safety of our patients. “
Sparrow spokesperson Jon Foren said they would look into the complaints.
“We deny all the allegations contained in the complaint,” he added.
The negotiating teams are expected to meet next week.