Soo Nurses Continue Strong Strike for Fair Contract; Next Bargaining Date With MyMichigan is May 10

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI – Bargaining will continue between Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) nurses and MyMichigan Medical Center Sault executives at a later date as nurses continued Thursday to hold the strike line outside the hospital.

Nurses presented a proposal during bargaining Thursday and the federal mediator asked for information from both parties, adjourning bargaining until May 10.

As they continue their 5-day unfair labor practice strike, the MNA Soo nurses want MyMichigan Midland executives to know that they aren’t fooled by contract offers that contain so many concessions that many nurses will actually take what amounts to a pay cut.

“Yes, MyMichigan, nurses can do math – and your contract offer doesn’t add up,” said Twyla Niznik, RN. “Our fellow nurses who make up our elected bargaining team have been transparent and kept us updated this whole time. We are behind them 100 percent in rejecting MyMichigan’s weak proposal. MyMichigan executives are misleading the public with numbers that sound good but don’t account for concessions; in my family, for example, we’d have to pay $4,200 more a year just to get health insurance. Their wage offer won’t make up for that at all.”

The nurses’ strike started Monday and concludes Saturday at 6:45 a.m. They voted unanimously last month to give their fellow nurses on the bargaining team the ability to call a strike if necessary. Nurses gave MyMichigan notice of the strike on April 3, after a 14th bargaining session failed to produce an agreement. The nurses have been working under a contract that expired Dec. 31. About 120 nurses work at the hospital.

The striking nurses have been in good spirits throughout the week, maintaining a picket line outside the hospital around the clock, with overwhelming support from the community, for which the nurses are extremely grateful.

Nurses say the hospital is frequently short-staffed because the Midland-based corporation pays so little in the Soo compared to other hospitals that it can’t recruit and retain nurses.

“MyMichigan executives’ talk about nurses voting on this contract offer feels like it’s just a way to delay bargaining,” said Jaclyn Neff, RN. “Our union consists of all of us nurses. We, as a union, don’t want to waste time voting on a contract offer that has so many new costs that they cancel out wage increases. MyMichigan’s proposal won’t actually recruit and retain local nurses in our community so we can provide safe care for all patients at all times. That’s what this is all about.”

The nurses argue they are grossly underpaid compared with other MyMichigan and U.P. hospitals.

Nurses point out that MyMichigan recently spent $10 million on a new computer system at the hospital and millions more to buy three other hospitals, yet refuses to make investing in local nurses a priority.

MNA has alleged that MyMichigan has broken federal labor laws multiple times, including by failing to bargain in good faith. MNA has filed multiple unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board. MyMichigan executives were notified of these charges, so it’s unclear why they have publicly denied knowledge of them.


The Michigan Nurses Association is the largest union and professional association for registered nurses and healthcare professionals in Michigan. MNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United and the AFL-CIO.

Contact: Dawn Kettinger; 517-721-9688 (cell)

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