Nurses in Sault Ste. Marie authorize strike amid contract negotiations

CHIPPEWA COUNTY, MI — Nurses at MyMichigan Medical Center Sault voted this week to authorize their bargaining team to be able to call for an unfair labor practice strike.

A 10-day notice would be provided to MyMichigan before any strike begins.

Unionized nurses have been holding information pickets outside MyMichigan Medical Center in Sault Ste. Marie.

Nurses have been working under an expired contract since January 1.

This is the first contract negotiations since MyMichigan added the former War Memorial Hospital to its system in 2022.

Union president Colleen Waucaush said the nurses are looking for wages that match other hospitals, including within the MyMichigan system.

In a press release from the Michigan Nurses Association, representatives said the nurses are frustrated stating “MyMichigan has refused to offer any negotiating dates to either the Michigan Nurses Association or a federal mediator before April 18.”

“The ball is in MyMichigan’s court,” said Stacey Duchin, an ER nurse and member of the nurses’ negotiating team. “MyMichigan’s executives in Midland make millions. Now that we have shown that we’re willing to hold them accountable, we hope that they will start acting in good faith. If they don’t, they will have no one to blame but themselves when they get notice of our intention to strike.”

MyMichigan Medical Center Sault President Kevin Kalchick said last week negotiations have been ongoing since October and will continue.

“Our funding for us comes through our efficiencies and our ability to generate revenues in reimbursement based on the services we receive, not based on what Midland does or what Alpena does,” said Kalchick.

“We’re a member hospital. We have the same tax ID, we have the same board and everything. So we’re the same people here, and anything to suggest that this is a MyMichigan takeover and that, ‘They don’t want to treat us fairly in the Soo,’ is just not true,” Kalchick added.

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