Unions Raise Alarm on McLaren, Demand More Staffing and Safer Working Conditions

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HOSPITAL WORKERS ORGANIZE DAY OF ACTION FOR JUNE 9TH

Michigan – This Wednesday, unions representing over 3,000 hospital workers at 7 McLaren Hospitals are raising the alarm on workplace conditions, claiming that a lack of staff and inconsistent COVID-19 protocols are putting workers at risk.

WHO: Hospital workers from UNITE HERE!, SEIU Healthcare Michigan, Michigan Nurses Association, AFSCME, and OPEIU

WHAT: Day of Action – Hospital workers will be taking selfie photos with signs about what needs to change at McLaren to support workers and patients

WHEN: Wednesday, June 9th 2021 – All day

WHERE: On social media #McLarenUnionsUnited

CONTACT: Kevin Lignell, kevin.lignell@seiuhealthcaremi.org, 313-401-3697

BACKGROUND:

A whistle blower reported by WXYZ two weeks ago outlined unsafe protocols and unsanitary conditions at McLaren Macomb Hospital. Unions representing over 3,000 workers at these facilities are saying they are not surprised by the report.

“The issue reported at McLaren Macomb is not isolated only to that subsidiary when it comes to proper staffing levels,” said Bill Sohmer, President of Local 2560, “AFSCME Local 2650 Non-Technical Employees at both McLaren Flint and Lapeer have been short-staffed for support service employees as well. What’s happening at McLaren Macomb should bring light to the fact that RN’s are not the only essential workers during this pandemic, the stress and mandatory overtime have taken a toll on these Union members. Until McLaren Corporation increases the benefits and starting wage as so many other Employers have already voluntarily done this problem will continue to exist. Local 2650 is hopeful that these issues can be resolved with contract negotiations starting soon.”

When the surge finally hit McLaren Thumb this winter, many workers felt the hospital was unprepared.

“We have repeatedly put our lives on the line during this pandemic, and we are finally seeing the pandemic beginning to recede,”  said Keegan Kubacki, SEIU surgical tech at McLaren Thumb, “Now we need time to recover. Many of us have had to exhaust our PTO if we showed signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Meanwhile, we weren’t paid any hazard pay even when we risked exposing ourselves to COVID-19. McLaren needs to support us during these difficult times instead of ignoring our sacrifice.”

Michigan Nurses Association points to the imbalance between McLaren’s executive pay and workplace conditions.

“Records show that McLaren’s CEO, Philip Incarnati, makes over $7 million a year. Meanwhile, we aren’t offering competitive enough wages to recruit and retain the staff we need to provide safe patient care. We are completely underwater and it feels like management cares more about keeping executive compensation high than it does retaining staff,” said Ashley Witmer, RN at McLaren Lapeer. “It is a sign of how broken this healthcare system is that our CEO is a multimillionaire while some frontline workers still aren’t even making $15 an hour.”

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