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‘After two years of sacrifice on the front lines, Trinity healthcare workers know what we are worth and we won’t settle for less’

Muskegon, MI— Dressed in scrubs and bearing signs that read, “Invest in Muskegon’s Healthcare Heroes” and “Fair Contract Now”, close to 100 Trinity Health-Mercy hospital workers, including registered nurses, techs, and support staff, joined by community supporters and elected officials, gathered Monday to signal their determination to win a strong, fair contract. Trinity Health-Mercy healthcare workers announced a deadline of January 31st to reach a fair agreement and if not, stated that they are prepared to authorize their bargaining committee to do what is necessary to win a fair contract.

“For two years, we’ve risked our health and safety, picked up extra shifts and worked long hours to ensure safe patient care, even if it means we’re exhausted. After everything we’ve been through, Trinity workers know our worth and we’re prepared to take a stand for ourselves and our patients if we need to! We refuse to settle for a contract that leaves out the protections, incentives, and rights we need and deserve,” said Tinitco Moore, a Health Unit Coordinator who has worked at Trinity Health-Mercy for over 6 years. 

Throughout bargaining, Trinity Health-Mercy hospital workers, including registered nurses, represented by their union SEIU Healthcare Michigan, showed up in large numbers to advocate for themselves and their patients. After nearly 3 years at the bargaining table, healthcare workers remain far apart from management on key issues and have decided to escalate the fight for the strong contract they’ve earned.

While nationally, hospital workers received an average of 9% annual raises in 2021, some Trinity-Health Mercy workers haven’t seen an annual wage increase since 2017. 

“My work is helping people breathe. Respiratory therapists have been a lynchpin in the fight against COVID-19, but these past two years have taken a toll on us. We have sacrificed so much to keep our community safe and healthy. It’s time for a fair contract. It’s time that Trinity respects and values its healthcare workers with fair wages, adequate staffing, and better working conditions so that we can continue to show up to deliver quality care for our patients,said Cyndi Zeanwick, respiratory therapist at Trinity Health-Mercy for over 20 years. 

During contract negotiations, healthcare workers have united around key contract proposals for a safer, more collaborative and respectful work environment — including fair compensation so that healthcare workers can be recruited and retained to tackle the staffing crisis at the hospital. 

“Hospital workers have been here for us. It is time for us to be there for them,” “It’s a shame that healthcare workers in our community haven’t seen annual raises for years. I would like to see Trinity make an investment in Muskegon worthy of the sacrifices that our hospital workers have made. We need to support them in these challenging times,said Michigan State Representative Tony Sabo.