MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Workers at the Sanctuary at McAuley skilled nursing facility in Muskegon say they will start picketing next week amid a contract dispute with Trinity Health.
Service Employees International Union, which represents the workers, says the nursing home is dealing with a staffing crisis and that employees are “overworked, understaffed and underpaid.” The union says wages, raises and benefits must improve to recruit and retain workers and support patients.
“We need (Trinity Health management) to understand that we are not disposable, that we are not easily replaceable and they can’t just still act as if we are,” Dawn Rose, a certified nursing assistant, said at a Monday news conference. “We need them to respect us as the experienced care workers that we are and want reasons to keep us around. We are 90% of what our patients see day to day, and without that quality experience from having good workers, they (patients) are not going to have the experience and the recovery and the outcome that they need.”
The union says that Trinity Health walked away from negotiations last week after it told them about the forthcoming picket. The hospital system said in a statement that it was the union that walked away.
“Trinity Health Senior Communities, a member of Trinity Health, has negotiated in good faith with the collective bargaining union covering McAuley Rehabilitation and Wellness’ certified nursing assistants, housekeepers, laundry, floor care, and dietary colleagues. We have provided 14 proposals over the course of 10 negotiation sessions,” Trinity said in a statement. “Unfortunately, on Thursday, March 2, the Union walked away from our best and final offer, which offered a generous wage increase.”
The hospital said it “remained committed to finding a reasonable and sustainable solution that supports our colleagues” and that it valued its workers commitment to their patients.
The union has not announced any intention to strike. The picket is expected to start March 13.