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Sault Ste. Marie nurses ask for more competitive wages following latest union contract offer

Nurses, community members, and supports all rally in front of the MyMichigan Medical Center Sault in support of the nurses keeping their wages.
Michigan Nurses Association
Nurses, community members and supporters rally in front of the MyMichigan Medical Center Sault in support of unionized nurses who are seeking more competitive wages following a recent contract negotiation.

Unionized nurses in Sault Ste. Marie held a rally on March 12 in response to the lengthy negotiation with the hospital administration at MyMichigan Health.

The rally consisted of nurses hosting an informational picket in front of the MyMichigan Medical Center Sault, informing the public about the issues they're facing during negotiations.

The main reasons nurses are not signing their latest contract offer is a competitive wage cut and the increased premium fees for unionized workers.

Colleen Wakoski, the local union president, said the wage offer is not a marketable wage when compared to other hospitals throughout Michigan.

"The other MyMichigan hospitals, that are also Michigan Nurses Association hospitals, make between $45 to $48 an hour and they are only currently offering us just over $42 an hour at the top," said Wakoski.

The lower wages and increased fees will make hiring any new nurses at the hospital harder than before, Wakoski added.

Wakoski also said patients are already forced to wait in the emergency room or have to be shipped off due to nurses not being able to staff the beds.

"We want to take care of our community," she continued. "We also have to keep nurses. It's very difficult right now to keep nurses when the entire UP as well as Lower Michigan are making upwards of five to ten more an hour than we are," said Wakoski.

In a written statement to WCMU, MyMichigan Health said they respect the nurses right to picket, but hope to get back the negotiation table and find compromise.

Editor's note: In the interest of transparency, we note that MyMichigan Health is a financial supporter of WCMU.

Scott Rechlin is a production assistant and on-host for WCMU
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