McLaren Bay Region Nurses Authorize Strike In Contract Negotiations

Nurses with McLaren Bay Region Hospital in Bay City have overwhelmingly ratified an authorization to go on strike.

Nearly 94 percent of 400 of McLaren Bay registered nurses with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) voted for the authorization this week. The move comes after the SEIU has been working with contract negotiations for several months, saying McLaren has moved very little in those negotiations. The RNs say their main concerns are short staffing and the erosion of quality care which is leading to poor staff retention in the facility.

Short-staffing occurs when the number of admitted patients surpasses a unit’s maximum capacity per nurse set by standards of quality and safety. The union says McLaren doesn’t believe there is a staffing issue at the hospital, though a poll of more than 100 nurses indicates many feel there are times when their safety or their patient’s safety was put at risk because they were short-staffed. SEIU has filed grievances against McLaren for not following the contract language on mandating staff and failing to respond to an information request.

McLaren Bay Region President and CEO Darrell Lentz has responded in statement that the vote to authorize a strike is a common bargaining tactic, but that continued dialogue will resolve key issues without the need for a strike. Lentz says McLaren Bay Region is committed to bargaining a new contract providing security and stability for the nurses and is fair to the hospital.

2023 saw several strike authorizations by union nurses at hospitals around the state, and in a majority of those cases, the nurses received improved contracts with their respective hospitals.