Nurses picket hospital.

June 1, 2018

Photo used by permission, 7&4 News.

Nurses picket hospital.

MANISTEE TOWNSHIP — Nurses with the Michigan Nurses Association picketed outside Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital Thursday, May 31, according to News.

“We’re having some issues in negotiation,” said Kari Zoscsak, an emergency department nurse and president of the local union. “We don’t think Munson Healthcare is being fair our nurses and we are concerned that we won’t be able to retain and recruit enough nurses where we are able to provide safe patient care.”

The local nurses were joined in the picket with members of other unions, including members of the Service Employees International Union.

The hospital and the union have been negotiating a new three-year contract since October 2017. The previous three-year contract expired on Dec. 31, 2017.

“The big ticket items are always the retirement package, the health insurance costs, and wages,” Zoscsak said.

“In those negotiations we have put a good faith contract together and there are obviously some differences,” said Tina Miller, chief nursing officer of the hospital.

Hospital officials say they are trying to work with the union but believe the hospital’s proposal is fair.

“Manistee hospital’s contract is competitive in the region for pay and benefits,” Miller said. “We continue to bargain in good faith and sit down with the members. Our main goal is to provide patient care and have safe staff.”

Zoscsak agreed that patient care is a top priority. “Patients are the focus and the center on what we do here,” she said. “We want Munson Healthcare to come back to the table and offer something that is fair and equal for our employees, we want to keep this a hometown hospital with local nurses here.”