MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Trinity Health Muskegon and the union representing its nurses have reached a contract deal that the workers say includes raises and bonuses over the next four years.
Trinity Health Muskegon, the new name for Mercy Health Muskegon, announced Thursday that it has reached a collective bargaining agreement with SEIU Healthcare Michigan.
The contract for hundreds of nurses starts now and runs for four years.
The union said in a release that it includes average raises of more than 20% over four years, lump sum bonuses of between $7,000 and $11,000 for many nurses, and retention bonuses of up to $10,000.
“We are super pleased that I think both sides are very satisfied with where we landed on negotiations,” Trinity Health Muskegon President Gary Allore told News 8. “We’re just very excited because we’ve been at the table since early 2021.”
He said the contract will help the hospital keep and retain nurses.
“I absolutely believe that puts us in a great position for recruiting new nurses, for retaining our nurses and really for taking care of the amazing nurses that have been taking care of this community for the last two years in the pandemic,” Allore said. “We’re pleased, and we can move forward and take care of this community like we always do.”
The contract is the result of more than a year of negotiations between the hospital and union. Health care workers had complained of underpayment, with some saying they hadn’t gotten a raise in years, and said that was pushing some to leave for other jobs. They also said the hospital was short-staffed during the pandemic and it was hard to get equipment and PPE. As negotiations dragged on, workers threatened in February to picket.
“This contract will provide relief to the staffing crisis and rebuild the foundation of Mercy as a respected community hospital that provides the highest quality care for its patients,” SEIU bargaining team leader Laura Krzykwa, also a nurse, said in a statement. “We have sacrificed and put our lives on the line during this global pandemic – we demand to be respected, protected, and paid. We won this strong contract because of the determination, resilience, and resolve of our union nurses. We refuse to back down from our demands, and we were rewarded for staying united in our struggle. Ultimately, this is about providing the best care for our patients and we can only do that when the hospital is adequately staffed. Now we will stand in solidarity with our union techs and support workers who continue to fight for their contract.”
SEIU says it’s still working on collective bargaining agreements for two other sets of health care workers at Trinity Health Muskegon.