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Ann Arbor, MI –  2,335 University of Michigan Medicine healthcare workers have won union recognition with SEIU Healthcare Michigan after a successful card check on March 18th. These workers will join  283 Michigan Medicine registered respiratory therapists and techs who previously joined SEIU Healthcare Michigan in July 2023. 

The newly-organized workers include patient care techs, phlebotomists and phlebotomist specialists, unit clerks, unit hosts, patient service assistants, patient services intermediate, and patient services associates, and patient services senior.

“As a patient service associate, we play a vital part in our patient’s recovery. We make sure patients have a positive first interaction with the University of Michigan health system. I grew up in a union family in the auto industry and I saw the benefits and protections it provided them. A union at the University of Michigan gives us a voice to express our concerns and be heard in the workplace,” said Willie Griggs, patient service associate at Mott Women and Children’s Hospital for 5 years. 

Michigan Medicine is known for its high-quality patient care in a system where around 80% of its workers already belong to a union. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the union difference when non-union and union employees received different treatment on issues such as benefits, raises, and working conditions. 

“During the pandemic, the University took away retirement benefits. Non-unionized workers did not receive a raise while our union colleagues did. They also cut costs on smaller things that affect patients like limiting the salt and pepper packets on food trays. A union would be our voice to fight for better pay, and benefits, and preserve the quality care our patients deserve,” said Em Mayhew, inpatient unit clerk at the University Hospital for 6 years. 

SEIU Healthcare Michigan continues to organize more than 2,000 additional workers at Michigan Medicine which includes call center representatives, admin assistants, associates, seniors and specialists, call center representatives, financial counselors, medical billing staff, and others in the patient service job family. 

Respiratory therapists and technicians at the University of Michigan’s University Hospital and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital are currently bargaining their first contract.

With over 17,000 workers, SEIU Healthcare Michigan is the fastest-growing & largest healthcare union in Michigan representing hospital and long-term careworkers.