Detroit nurses fight for union
Published Oct 13, 2007 7:47 AM
A raucous demonstration of more than a hundred nurses outside of the
Detroit Medical Center on Oct. 4 supported the organizing efforts of the nurses
working inside. On Oct. 1, the DMC Organizing Committee for Change had filed a
petition for a union recognition election with the National Labor Relations
Board. More than half of the nurses at DMC component hospitals Harper and
Hutzel have signed cards supporting the union.
Unionized nurses from across the state came out from the Michigan Nurses
Association convention held nearby to show support for the DMC nurses, who are
standing up to an anti-union campaign by the hospital administration, and to
encourage the DMC not to interfere with the upcoming vote.
In addition to conducting intimidating one-on-one meetings, disciplining nurses
for distributing union material while continuing to pass out anti-union
information, the DMC CEO Mike Duggan has threatened to thwart the election by
claiming that most nurses are supervisors and therefore exempt from union
The DMC organizing drive is an important battle in this city that is devastated
by auto plant closings and the massive loss of industrial jobs.
Michigan’s Democratic Gov.
Jennifer Granholm is promoting jobs in health care statewide but particularly
in Detroit as an antidote to the chronic, pervasive unemployment and lack of
opportunity for youth.
But will they be jobs where workers are organized and able to fight for better
conditions for nurses and patients from this community? Or will they be jobs
where the business bottom line comes first?
Mike Duggan, former deputy Wayne County executive, and former Wayne County
prosecutor with connections at the upper echelons of both Democratic and
Republican parties and now CEO at DMC, is no friend of workers.
Appointed to “turn around” the financially strapped DMC, he did so
with federal, state and city funds and renegotiating contracts with the doctors
at the Wayne State University Medical School.
In a leaflet addressed to the Detroit community, the DMC registered nurses call
on the DMC to “stop the use of public funds to fight RNs.” The DMC
nurses ask supporters to tell CEO Mike Duggan at 313-745-1250 to sign a fair
election agreement with the RNs.
—Report & photo by Cheryl LaBash
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