Marquette nurses say UPHS violated federal labor law during the pandemic

Jun 2, 2020

MARQUETTE, MI--   The following is a press release from the Michigan Nurses Association:

____

The Michigan Nurses Association on Monday filed three charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that UPHS-Marquette has violated federal labor law through its lack of transparency.  

UPHS-Marquette has refused to provide a complete inventory of PPE – gloves and masks -- to nurses despite repeated requests. Instead, they have provided the number of days left they have of PPE without sharing how much PPE they expect to use each day, making the number essentially meaningless. They also directed nurses to the state of Michigan’s website even though it does not include the specifics about PPE RNs were requesting.

“This is a matter of basic safety. As Michigan and neighboring states begin to open up, we need to know whether we are prepared to handle a second wave,” said Suzette Hantz, a UPHS-Marquette RN. “There is no good reason for management to hide this vital information from front-line workers.”

The UPHS Marquette RN Staff Council/MNA is an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association.

The Michigan Nurses Association believes that UPHS-Marquette also violated both the policy of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Labor Relations Act by improperly redacting OSHA logs, prompting a second charge. Nurses also filed a third charge against UPHS-Marquette for its lack of financial transparency.

“Management’s disrespect of front-line nurses is unacceptable,” said Maradie Milkey, RN. “This shows the problem with having a hospital that is run by a for-profit corporation. They seem to care more about silencing RNs than working with us to protect the community.”

UPHS-Marquette executives have refused to disclose how much money in grants they have received from the federal government while saying that they can’t agree to nurses’ COVID specific requests, such as for additional COVID-related paid time off, because it is “financially impossible.”

UPHS-Marquette is owned by Apollo Global Management, a private investment management company that has over $300 billion in assets. Its founder, Leon Black, has a net worth of over $8 billion according to Forbes.

“I wish these corporate executives cared about our community as much as they care about their profit margins,” said Scott Balko, RN. “All we want is for the administration to treat nurses and patients with respect.”

____

UPHS-Marquette has not yet responded to Public Radio 90’s request for comment.