Auxiliary staff at McLaren Bay Region Hospital held an informational picket Thursday in front of the hospital.
UNITE HERE Local 24 representing around 300 support staff says they have been working without a contract for more than a year and want to see better staff-to-patient ratios and better pay. The union says the hospital is in a staffing crisis, which is affecting patient safety and preventing them from getting the care they need and deserve.
McLaren Bay Region President and CEO Darrell Lentz says in a statement:
McLaren Bay Region is currently negotiating its service unit employee contract with UNITE HERE Local 24, which represents approximately 300 support staff who work at our hospital. Our goal is to establish a contract that is beneficial to both parties, and we are committed to that outcome.
However, the service union has chosen to conduct an informational picket, which is within their right. It is typical for unions to engage in such activities to try to pressure the employer at negotiations, though they only serve as a distraction and do not impact the outcome of these negotiations.
As negotiations continue, our hospital leadership and physicians remain focused on outstanding patient care and services. The bargaining process and this informational picket have not compromised that focus.
We are hopeful that we will reach a mutually agreeable contract in the very near future.
Until that time, our focus will continue to be serving the patients who entrust us with their care.
Since 2022, numerous nurses’ and support staff unions around Michigan have either threatened or gone on strikes, with the majority of them resulting in improved contracts for staff with their respective hospitals. While McLaren Bay Region staff say a strike would be a last resort, it remains an option. Registered nurses with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) at McLaren Bay Region voted to authorize a strike in December.