Michigan Medicine nurses have approved a four-year, $273 million contract with University of Michigan Health after months of working without a new agreement in place.
Nurses represented by the University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council, a local bargaining unit of the Michigan Nurses Association, approved the new contract that includes:
A 22.5% raise during the four years of the contract.
A $5,000 bonus for each nurse this year. Current nurses still employed at Michigan Medicine will receive a $2,000 retention bonus March 31, 2026.
Elimination of mandatory overtime for most units, except for defined emergency situations.
Expanded staffing guidelines.
Nurse practitioners will be in a new salary step model. All other nurses will receive a 7.5% pay raise in the first year. All bargaining unit members will receive a 6% pay increase in the second year, 5% increase in the third year and 4% in the fourth year, according to a release from the university.
'Better place to work for generations to come'
The union's bargaining team said in a Facebook post that an overwhelming majority of members voted to ratify the tentative agreement and the new contract will take effect immediately.
Its post called this an "enormous achievement" and "(f)or the first time ever, there will now be monetary penalties if the employer does not safely staff the hospital."
"This is truly history. All of us should feel proud that we have won a new contract that will make Michigan Medicine a better place to work for generations of nurses to come," according to the union's post.
“We thank all the teams who worked tirelessly over the last few months to bargain for a fair agreement that reflects the expertise and commitment of our nurses, and our shared interest in moving University of Michigan Health forward together,” U-M Health President Dr. David Miller said.
More than 1,000 nurses hired
“Our exemplary nurses are a valued and crucial part of our world-class health care team,” Chief Nurse Executive Nancy May said. “We believe this generous package will help us continue to retain and recruit excellent nurses. We look forward to working with our nursing community as we continue our efforts to bring top-ranked health care to our patients and communities across the state and beyond.”
Michigan Medicine said it has implemented a nurse recruitment program and is on track to have a record-setting year with 1,058 nurses hired from July 2021 to May of this year. It said its current vacancy rate is 5% compared with a national average vacancy rate of 17%.
The nurses had been working without a contract since June 30, and voted last month to authorize a work stoppage as part of an unfair labor practice strike.
Before the contract expired in June, nurses appealed to the university's Board of Regents seeking an end to mandatory overtime, improved nurse-to-patient ratios and higher compensation. When that didn't lead to a deal, about 1,000 nurses rallied in Ann Arbor in July.
Soon after, the union sued in the Michigan Court of Claims, asking for an injunction to bargain workload ratios immediately, pending a ruling by the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, where an unfair labor practice charge was filed.
Contact Christina Hall: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @challreporter.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: U-M nurses approve new contract with raises, bonus