A group of Mount Clemens hospital employees voted to unionize just in time to march Monday morning on Michigan Avenue and Washington Boulevard in Detroit with hundreds of other organized labor members.
Office and nontechnical professionals at McClaren Macomb hospital are joining Local 40 of the Office and Professional Employees International Union, based in Macomb Township. It already represented registered nurses at the 288-bed facility on Harrington Street, one of 14 hospitals in a health care network based in Grand Blanc.
Last week's vote was 172-113 in favor of the union, according to a letter to employees from Laura Gibbard, vice-president of labor relations at the hospital. Sarah Kelley of Fraser posts it on Local 40's Facebook page.
"We can finally have a real, legally binding voice in the decisions that affect us every day," the local posts.
"It is time for us to be respected and have a seat at the table. . . . We no longer have to sit back quietly and take whatever changes of conditions management set for us."
Gibbard uses a tone of frank acceptance to communicate the results, which await formal certification by the National Labor Relations Board:
"The last several weeks certainly have been trying for all of us. We would have preferred a different result that would allow us to continue working together directly with all of you. But we admire you for taking the time to learn about this important issue and how it could change our relationship with each other."
Three-hundred and twenty-five workers were eligible to vote Wednesday, though only 285 singed ballot cards were declared eligible. The hospital successfully challenged 32 votes, based on an earlier NLRB job classification decision, according to Crain's Detroit Business.
Jobs involved include critical care technicians, lab assistants, patient access representatives, pharmacy techs, clerks, couriers and other support staff, Jay Greene writes in this week's issue.
Jeff Morawski, a registered nurse who is president of the suburban union local, is quoted by Crain's:
"This is the proudest day in the history of Local 40. The workers' voices were heard loud and clear, and I am excited and proud to welcome them to Local 40. When workers win an election to form a union, everyone wins."
In an earlier statement relyed nby Greene, lab assistant Leah Derr said:
"I'm proud of our group for standing united and not backing down no matter what our employer threw in our way. Our solidarity gave us an overwhelming victory and we're going to take that power with us to the bargaining table."