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UPHS-Marquette Nurse Lockout Continues

Nurses who ended their two-day strike against UP Health System-Marquette Saturday morning have, at least for the most part, not been allowed to return to work.

In a statement issued Friday, hospital officials said that they had been obliged to make a five-day work commitment to the replacement nurses they hired to keep the hospital open during the strike. They also said they had notified the union in advance that most members’ jobs would be filled for five days, not just the two days of the walkout, and that the local nurses will be allowed to resume their jobs on Tuesday.

Nurses who have reported for their shifts since the walkout ended have been turned away, and told that the replacement nurses will remain on the job.

This statement was released by the nurses after the Saturday morning shift workers were told they were not needed:

“Nurses employed by UPHS-Marquette, a Duke LifePoint hospital, concluded a 48-hour strike on Saturday at 7AM. At issue is the hospital’s refusal to guarantee minimum nurse staffing levels at all times to protect patient safety.

‘From the beginning, management has failed to plan for and ensure long-term, consistent RN safe staffing. Patients deserve better,’ said Scott Balko, Operating Room RN and President of the UPHS Marquette RN Staff Council/MNA.

‘We are humbled and energized by all of the community support. Nurses thank everyone who helped on picket line or cheered us on from afar,’ said Chris Sorelle, Emergency Room nurse and member of the bargaining team. ‘We will use that momentum to continue advocating for quality care and a safer nursing practice.’

Marquette nurses showed up ready to work at 7AM on Saturday, consistent with their strike notification and with instructions from management to nurses. Yet, Duke LifePoint turned away local nurses in favor of travel nurses.

‘Nurses who live here are invested in good patient outcomes because we are caring for our friends and families,’ said Stephanie DePetro, Certified Operating Room nurse and Chief Grievance Steward of the UPHS Marquette RN Staff Council/MNA. ‘Shame on Duke LifePoint for undermining that healing human connection in an attempt to protect their profits.’”

The union has encouraged nurses to report for their scheduled shifts, unless personally notified by hospital management that they will not be needed.

There has been no further comment from management since the statement released Friday night. See our related story here.

Nurses at UPHS-Marquette want management to address staffing levels that they say are dangerously low, and threaten patient safety.

The dispute does not affect nurses at UP Health System-Portage in Hancock, or at UP Health System-Bell in Ishpeming.

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