Welcome to the April 2020 edition of the Michigan Nurse! We look forward to sharing news and highlighting stories and important events from MNA nurses across the state.

If you have a tip or story you would like to share, send an email to minurses@minurses.org

MNA challenges employers, advocates with government officials

MNA continues to aggressively challenge employers to provide proper PPE and policies to protect and support nurses and other healthcare professionals. We are advocating at the bargaining table, in the media, and with federal agencies. We also are in contact with the Governor’s office to keep members’ concerns at the forefront. In fact, Gov. Whitmer thanked MNA members in one of her recent press conferences. In addition, Lt. Governor Gilchrist recorded a special message of support for MNA members. You can click here to see the video.


Resources for members

MNA’s special COVID-19 web page has the latest information about the coronavirus as well as resources for members, such as a free COVID-19 CE and free or discounted hotels, legal services and more.

Also please remember that if you are furloughed or laid off right now, you may qualify for a special state union monthly dues rate of $10. This reduction is intended for members who are on a designated furlough or layoff (that does not have an explicit end date of less than 30 days) while taking unpaid time off and maintaining their employment with the expectation of returning to work.

As long as you are a member in good standing, you can ask for this dues reduction by emailing dues@minurses.org. Please include your member number and a picture or PDF of your furlough/layoff notice if possible, and your local bargaining unit name. The change in dues rate will be from the date of your email forward.


Hackley members fight for the legal right to wear their own respirators

Nurses at Mercy Health Partners’ Hackley Hospital in Muskegon are fighting for the legal right to wear personal masks that are more protective than the ones provided by their employer. Last month several nurses in the emergency department wore N95 respirators as a concerted effort to protect themselves as the hospital was only providing them with simple masks. The N95 masks were new and had been donated to the nurses directly by the community.

Upon wearing the masks nurses were allegedly approached by their supervisor who asked for a list of nurses who were wearing the N95’s and asked nurses to remove the masks and put on the less protective simple masks. The nurses stood their ground and refused to endanger themselves by removing the respirators. The next day the hospital retaliated by revising their policies about wearing personal masks or respirators to make it more difficult to bring in personal equipment that was more protective than what the hospital was providing.

The Michigan Nurses Association has filed an unfair labor practice charge. The charge alleges that nurses’ right to collectively wear more protective personal equipment such as N95 respirators rather than wear only the simple masks provided is a legally protected form of protest in support of stronger safety conditions in the hospital. The charge is being investigated by the National Labor Relations Board.


Taking Michigan Medicine nurses’ concerns to the state

At Michigan Medicine, nurses who are working with confirmed COVID patients are being told to go without an N95 mask unless it’s for specific procedures. This is despite the fact that the OSHA-required respiratory protection plan maintained by the employer  states that nurses may choose to voluntarily wear a respirator.

Nurses are seeking to use their own personal protective equipment – specifically N95 masks – when the employer won’t provide it. MNA has filed a MIOSHA (Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration) complaint to protect nurses’ rights to be safe at work.

The complaint also states that the employer is violating the general duty clause of OSHA to provide a safe workplace due to the high number of employee infections. MNA has filed similar complaints against Beaumont Health System and Mercy Health Hackley Hospital.


MNA members in the news

During the COVID-19 pandemic, MNA members’ voices have been prominent in the news. President Jamie Brown has been quoted in CNN, MSN, Buzzfeed, Michigan Radio, and multiple other outlets around the world. Vice President Katie Scott has appeared in The Guardian, Yahoo News, and Scientific American. Multiple other members have been featured in various outlets.

Whether it is warning about inadequate PPE, holding health care corporations accountable, or speaking out about safety issues, MNA is known for being out and front in the news. You can see the full list of MNA in the media here.


White ribbons support nurses and other healthcare professionals

The image of a white ribbon has sprung up as a way to show support for nurses and other healthcare professionals during this difficult time. To help spread the word, MNA created a frame that can be used on your Facebook profile picture; you can get it here.



Appreciating our lab professionals

With National Laboratory Professionals Week in April, it’s a good time to take a moment to appreciate these essential members of the health care team.  Their critical work, usually done behind the scenes, is more urgent than ever right now and should not be overlooked. If you are a lab professional, thank you for all you do. If you know a lab professional, make sure to show your appreciation next time you see them.

Michigan Nurses Association
2310 Jolly Oak Road | Okemos, MI  48864
(517) 349-5640 | minurses@minurses.org

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