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Former Trinity Health Michigan employees file unfair labor practice complaint

Federal Bureau of Investigation

UPDATE 4:00 pm on 3/18/23: This story has been updated to include a written response from Trinity Health Michigan.

Employees at Trinity Health Michigan who say they were recently fired over unionization efforts have filed unfair labor practice complaints against the company with the federal government.

Eleven employees said they were fired after they made internal complaints about unsafe working conditions and the company retaliated against attempts to unionize.

Matthew Miller was a lab technician at Trinity Health Michigan. He said many of the staff reached a breaking point when their supervisor, who had supported their union efforts, was terminated. A complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board says the supervisor was ordered to search employees' "person and property, without permission from the employees, for union signup cards." The employees said the manager refused the search, and claim the manager was then fired. Officials at Trinity Health Michigan say the manager left voluntarily.

The 11 lab techs say they took a day off of work after their manager was terminated. "Many staff reached an emotional breaking point Thursday and followed the normal procedures to take a day for themselves and went home," a spokesperson for the Service Employees International union said in a statement. The next day, the lab techs said, they were told not to come into work. He says the following Monday, the group was fired.

Miller said he's concerned that the Trinity medical center the workers serve is already understaffed. He said he worries these abrupt layoffs will cause longer wait times.

“The retaliation for trying to form a union is not only illegal but it's terrible and it's affecting our patients here,” Miller said. “Really, I just want to get back to work. I want to take care of my patients because that's what I live for."

Trinity Health Michigan did immediately respond to requests to comment, but released a statement Friday afternoon calling the claims from SEIU Healthcare of Michigan "absurd and grossly distorted."

"Trinity Health Michigan denounces the baseless and libelous claims made by SEIU Healthcare of Michigan following the sudden and unannounced absences of lab employees at three of our outpatient blood draw sites," the statement says.

Trinity Health Michigan says the outpatient lab workers abandoned their posts and patients voluntarily and without notice, and their employment ended as a result.

Trinity Health Michigan is among Michigan Radio's corporate sponsors.

Taylor Bowie is a senior studying English Literature at the University of Michigan and an intern in the Michigan Radio newsroom. She is originally from Owosso, Michigan.
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