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Sault Ste. Marie nurses file charges against MyMichigan Medical Center ahead of strike

UPDATE 4/10/24 4:10 p.m.

SAULT STE. MARIE — The Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) has filed federal unfair labor practice charges against MyMichigan Medical Center Sault on behalf of members there.

The charges filed Monday ask the National Labor Relations Board to investigate allegations that MyMichigan:

  • Illegally surveilled nurses at their informational picket on March 12.
  • Suddenly changing rules so they didn’t have to pay nurses for shifts when they accidentally missed punching in or attended a required staff meeting on their time off.
  • Illegally threatened and retaliated against the union president for bringing an unfair labor practice charge by serving her a subpoena for her personal phone and all correspondence between her and federal investigators.

A previously announced strike by MNA nurses will begin Monday, April 15, at 6:45 a.m.

You can read the full charges filed here.

4/5/24 9:30 a.m.

SAULT STE. MARIE — Registered nurses at MyMichigan Medical Center Sault gave notice that they are going on strike to protest what they say are unfair labor practices.


According to the 10-day notice, the five-day strike is planned to begin at 6:45 a.m. on April 15.

Nurses have been working under a contract that expired Dec. 31. Both sides met Wednesday to negotiate a new contract, but didn’t reach an agreement.

“We are willing to sacrifice our paychecks to fight for our patients because we cannot allow the situation at our hospital to continue to deteriorate,” said Colleen Waucaush, RN, president of the local union. “It’s clear that MyMichigan executives are not taking our concerns about staffing seriously. They failed to act after our petition, and they failed to act after our informational picket. A strike is the only option we have left for us to show we are committed to advocating for our patients and our community.”

The Michigan Nurses Association claims that MyMichigan executives bring Sault nurses to a level comparable with other Upper Peninsula hospitals, address rising costs of health insurance, and providing union nurses with less benefits than non-union employees.


They say at least 10 charges of illegal behavior have been filed against MyMichigan in the past decade, and a federal investigation led to a settlement over targeting union activity. Despite that, some registered nurses say they feel MyMichigan’s behavior has not improved.

“Nurses want the best for our patients, and that means having enough staff to provide the best care possible. We are losing nurses to other hospitals because MyMichigan pays so little in the Soo – that’s not fair to our community. We are united in standing strong for what’s right,” said Brittany Barrett, RN.

You can read the full notice to employees here.

In response, Kevin Kalchik, president of MyMichigan Medical Center Sault, issued the following statement:


“After a full day of negotiating in which MyMichigan made a significant proposal that included an increase for our most senior nurses from $37.00 to $44.77 per hour, within 30 minutes of that proposal, the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) responded by providing MyMichigan Medical Center Sault a 10-day strike notice. The MNA claims it is a strike for unfair labor practices. MyMichigan is unaware of any unfair labor practices filed against us and the MNA was unable to identify any such charges. Approximately 120 nurses could be affected by the strike notice; however, that does not mean that all nurses will strike. Each nurse may make their own decision.

“It is disappointing the bargaining nurses walked away from the table after the package we offered accomplished much of what they have been seeking. We have negotiated in good faith in more than 13 sessions up to this point, working hard to reach an agreement. We are very comfortable with what we have proposed. We believe our position is fair and reasonable and designed to keep us competitive in the challenging health care environment we face today. Moreover, our package respects the excellence of our nurses and all they have contributed to our patients and community.

“At this time, our next bargaining session is set for April 10 and will continue to be under the supervision of a federal mediator.

“The Medical Center is fortunate to have an all-around great workforce. Even though we have tough issues facing us over the next few weeks, we are confident in our ability to provide care to our community in their time of need.

“Implementation of our strike preparedness plan is underway. Because of that, we are confident that if the nurses do indeed decide to strike, we will continue to provide patients with the same excellent care they receive now. We remain steadfast to these objectives.”

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