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Munson Medical Center in Traverse City reaches settlement over charge of violating labor law

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Munson Medical Center in Traverse City must post signs stating that nurses have a right to talk about working conditions. It’s part of a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board.

Members of the hospital’s nurses’ union in July filed a charge alleging several violations of federal labor law. One allegation included that a Munson nurse was threatened with discipline for talking about the impact of working excessive hours.

That National Labor Relations Board found the charge to have merit.

Caroyln Moss is with the local union. She said the union ratified its first contract with Munson in March.

“We’ve been pretty disappointed that our administration has continued to try and silence our union and our collective voice rather than working with us to improve patient care,” Moss said.

She said the signs around the hospital will reaffirm nurse’s rights.

“We have the right to speak about our working conditions. We have the right to union representation without the fear of discipline.”

Rachel Roe is with Munson Healthcare. She said the hospital disputes the allegation of a nurse being threatened. And she said that was the only allegation that was found to have merit.

“Munson chose to enter into a settlement because continuing to contest the remaining allegations would require a hearing before a federal judge,” Roe said. “We believe it’s in the best interest of Munson Medical and our employees to bring closure to the case.”

A spokesperson for the Michigan Nurses Association said the additional allegations against the hospital were not dismissed or found to be without merit but were withdrawn.

The spokesperson added that this is the second unfair labor practice charge against Munson Medical Center that has been pursued by the National Labor Relations Board in less than a year.

Roe said the hospital does not believe that they violated federal labor law. 

“It’s important to note that the National Labor Relations Board has the ability to issue fines and financial penalties in cases like this and they chose not to do so in this case.”

Roe added that the hospital educates managers on policies and the rights of employees.

“Nurses and all of our employees have the right under the National Labor Relations Act to discuss terms and conditions of employment with each other in non patient care areas. That is the law and that is what our policies say.”

Caroyln Moss, with the local union, said the nurses are committed to work with the administration.

“But as long as this kind of stuff continues we are going to challenge them and fight back,’ she said.