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Group Of Michigan Nurses At Beaumont Hospital In Royal Oak Launch Union Drive

Published Thursday, May 2, 2019
by Jay Greene/
Group Of Michigan Nurses At Beaumont Hospital In Royal Oak Launch Union Drive

(ROYAL OAK, MICHIGAN) - A group of Nurses at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, the 1,100-bed flagship hospital of eight-hospital Beaumont Health, has launched a drive to Unionize with the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA).

A statement signed by 100 of the approximately 3,000 Nurses at Beaumont Royal Oak says the effort, the fourth Union Drive among Beaumont Nurses over the past 24 years, is partly about adding jobs to increase Nurse-to-patient ratios.

"Beaumont used to be the gold standard of health care in Michigan, but now morale is dropping," the Union backers' statement at says. "We have seen too many of our colleagues leave for other facilities that have safer staffing levels and offer better opportunities to provide quality care."

Registered Nurse (RN) Susan Grant, Beaumont Health's Executive Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, has met with some of the Nurses who support the Union.  She said the Nurses talked about supporting the MNA’s "safe staffing" effort to increase Nurse-to-patient staffing ratios.  Grant also told Crain's that Beaumont respects the Nurses' effort to decide whether or not they should have a Union represent them.

Mary Beth Boeson, a Certified Nurse Anesthetist with Beaumont for 24 years, said Beaumont Nurses want a seat at the management table when decisions involving patient care are being made: "We ‘want to make Beaumont a better place to work and advocate for our patients.’  Being a Nurse ‘here for so long, seeing all the changes in health care, especially at Beaumont the last few years, it doesn't feel like we are putting our patients first.’  ‘Things have really shifted.’ ‘The nursing voice has disappeared some.’  ‘We know what is best for patients and we want to have a seat at the table for patient care and staffing.’"

Boeson said Beaumont's Nursing Executives have reached out to communicate with nurses the past few months, asking what more the hospital can do.  "We have more Nurses in management positions, but I am not sure how much power they have.  We want to help them.  We feel the collective voice of (3,000) Nurses can make a difference," she said.

Boeson said Floor Nurses have been called from patient care duties to attend "Labor Relations Meetings" where they are presented with information from Beaumont-hired consultants about Unions.  "We have identified five different people who are having the meetings and are engaged in Union Busting," Boeson said. "They are ‘using a lot of fear, saying things like if you join a Union, the Union will make you Strike.’  There are ‘different types’ of Strikes: Economic strikes and Unfair Labor Practice strikes.  The MNA has had two strikes in (19) years."

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