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Nurses at McLaren Lapeer reach tentative deal

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The union representing some 250 nurses in the Thumb said they've reached a tentative deal with McLaren Lapeer Region Hospital, after recently voted unanimously to authorize a potential strike.

Nurses at McLaren have been without a contract for over a month now. And despite months of negotiations, nurses said the main issue was staffing: specifically, trying to get the hospital to abide by the nurse-to-patient ratios in their contracts.

A spokesperson for McLaren previously said the hospital has safe staffing levels, and doesn't "regularly violate" the agreed upon nurse-to-patient ratio. But nurses wanted the hospital to pay financial penalties if those ratios weren't met.

Details about the tentative contract won't be available until the end of this week, after nurses have had a chance to vote on whether to ratify the agreement.

“Nurses care deeply about the future of our hospital and our patients,” Carie Babcock, a nurse at McLaren Lapeer and president of the local Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) bargaining unit, said in an emailed statement. “That’s why we have stayed strong and united in advocating for what our patients need in terms of safe, high-quality care, and what nurses need to be able to do our jobs. This tentative agreement achieves our members’ goals when it comes to staffing the hospital safely and providing compensation that will recruit and retain nurses in our community.”

“We are pleased to announce that following 16 hours of negotiations Friday through Saturday morning, McLaren Lapeer Region and Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) reached a tentative agreement on June 24 for a new nursing contract for more than 200 registered nurses,” a McLaren spokesperson said via email. The hospital and union have agreed to terms on a three-year labor contract.

“The bargaining committees have worked hard for approximately four (4) months to reach an agreement that provides our nurses with market-competitive wages and benefits; a safe, positive work environment; and staffing improvements that address the Hospital’s and nurses’ concerns.

“The new agreement allows McLaren Lapeer Region to continue delivering the high-quality care that our community expects from their community hospital.”

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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