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Latest News - February 2012

February 15, 2012
Teamsters Local 332 union leader says she is 'insulted and offended' by Genesys letter
Source: The Flint Journal
By: Sarah Schuch

GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP, Michigan – Tensions are already high between union leaders and Genesys Regional Medical Center officials, with the start of contract negotiations still a week away.

Union leaders say they are insulted by a letter sent today to community neighbors from Genesys President and Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Aderholdt. The letter discusses upcoming negotiations.

Nina Bugbee, president of Teamsters Local 332, which represents more than 1,100 registered nurses, said the letter stereotypes union members by stating that "unpleasant messaging" is anticipated during negotiations.

“Obviously, our commitment to safety and excellence remains strong and unwavering, but in coming months there may be unpleasant messaging about Genesys as we enter bargaining with the union representing our registered nurses,” the letter states.

"Negotiations, especially during these economic times, are emotional processes that sometimes elicit aggressive campaigns. Consequently, we anticipate you may hear messaging that challenges our safety and nursing coverage.”

Bugbee said she was appalled and offended by the actions of Genesys administration before negotiations start on Feb. 22.

“They’ve already stereotyped the union,” Bugbee said. “I was hoping to go in and stay focused on the issues at hand and negotiate in good faith and establish a working relationship."

"And this is just a punch. They threw the first punch," Bugbee said.

Cindy Ficorelli, spokeswoman for Genesys, acknowledged that a letter has been sent to all residents in the hospital’s service area. She declined further comment on the content of the letter because not every resident has received it or had a chance to read it yet.

The letter is self-explanatory, Ficorelli said.

Bugbee said she also had concerns about a website mentioned in the letter that would be available to the public to stay up to date on the bargaining process. “Consistent updates will be made available for all to read,” the letter said.

Bugbee said she believes the website will present incomplete information to the public and will not give the union leaders proper time to speak with members before the website is updated.

“It’s nothing more than a divide-and-conquer tactic to the community and the workers. There’s no reason to start out of the gate in this manner,” she said. “You don’t even get a chance to talk to your membership about what happened at the table.”

With the current economic situations in the area, Bugbee said she expected negotiations to be tough, but the letter surprised her.

In 2010, negotiations with the technical workers union almost led to a strike of about 300 workers.

According to Flint Journal archives the 2008 negotiations for nurse contracts lasted from February until June and ended with wage increases and a maintained nurse-to-patient ratios of previous contracts in an overwhelming 905 to 3 vote.

The first contract negotiation session is set for Feb. 22.

 

 


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