Hurley Responds to Statements Made by RNRPh Union

Last updated: 9/08/17

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Social Media

Hurley Medical Center supports everyone’s rights to express their opinions on their personal social media pages. However, because our primary purpose of this resource is to reach Hurley employees, we are refraining from engaging in dialogue on our social media pages regarding labor relations and will continue to update this resource as necessary.

In the spirit of transparency and to respond to the multitude of employees who have now seen the LBO and are questioning what they were told by their union leadership, Hurley has prepared a response to recent statements made by the RNRPh Union and will continue to update, as needed.


1. RNRPH Union Flint Facebook
2. Failure to Negotiate
3. Staffing and Mandatory Overtime
4. Benefits
5. Communication, LBO, Contract Termination 9/08/17

1. RNRPH Union Flint Facebook

This section contains responses to statements made on the RNRPH Union Flint Facebook page.

1.1 Hurley management has been in at least 39 sessions. That’s great for Hurley management, but it defeats the purpose if the union side is not released and at the table. Management could meet daily if they wanted to, but you have to have both sides to negotiate. - Kelly Donaldson Indish, President of McLaren Local 875 Nurses Union (7/27/17)

HMC: Management has been in scheduled negotiations with RNRPh representatives in at least 39.

1.2 Who cares who invited a mediator. What I will say is majority of the time both sides request a mediator and agree to have one. It doesn’t matter who requests the mediator the reason they have one is that both sides agreed to have one. - Kelly Donaldson Indish, President of McLaren Local 875 Nurses Union (7/27/17)

HMC: Management agrees that it shouldn’t matter who requested a mediator. Requesting a mediator shows that both sides agree that progress is not being made and outside help is needed. In addition, Management wanted to clarify that it was a state (MERC) appointed mediator, not someone selected by the parties.

1.3 Even with a mediator you still have to involve both “teams” That is why it is called a negotiation team! To say we will only deal with the president and attorney is not collective bargaining - Kelly Donaldson Indish, President of McLaren Local 875 Nurses Union (7/27/17)

HMC: The mediator, not HMC Management, suggested limiting the number of people at the bargaining table - in an effort to try and move things forward.

1.4 No first hand accounts were reported at the board meeting by nurses because they were force out of a public meeting after 15 min while the board allowed Barry and the management negotiation team to remain in a closed session meeting. - Kelly Donaldson Indish, President of McLaren Local 875 Nurses Union (7/27/17)

HMC: Nurses were not forced out of the meeting. The Board Chair asked if anyone else wanted to address the Board and no one accepted the opportunity. In fact, several were specifically seen shaking their head as if to say “no.”

1.5 Retiree benefits for FUTURE employees could be impacted depending on the contract. The contract does negotiate for anyone who retired under that contract. - Kelly Donaldson Indish, President of McLaren Local 875 Nurses Union (7/27/17)

HMC: There is absolutely no doubt that an RNRPh member who retires under a contract receives the retirement benefits set forth in that contract. In this case, the LBO does not modify retirement benefits in any way. Therefore, if the LBO is approved by membership, a member who retires under it will receive exactly the same retirement benefits as currently existing.

1.6 As far as voting on the LBO, it was done very sneakily. If you don’t redline changes, changing a period or taking out a word or adding a word changes the language and the intent. You can have members vote on something that is not explained to the leadership and the intent discussed. You have to be extremely careful to read every last word. The answer from Hurley was It’s easy change it to PDF it takes less than a minute. Ok then, why didn’t you do it if you weren’t being sneaky? That says enough right there. As far as Hurley taking action against employees if they don’t comply with the law, of course they will. Listen, when you go on strike your employment is terminated. That’s everywhere. Once you reach an agreement, part of that agreement is every single person that went out on strike is brought back whole. Meaning you are still an employee and you return where u were with the benefits you had. - Kelly Donaldson Indish, President of McLaren Local 875 Nurses Union (7/27/17)

HMC: As you stated at the top of your post, you do not know all the issues and have not been presented with a full set of the facts. With that said, Management is wholly unaware of “voting on the LBO,” but would agree that if it did occur it “was done sneakily.”

Contrary to Ms. Indish’s legal advice, the law prohibiting public employees from striking does not require that once an agreement is reached, “every single person that went out on strike is brought back whole.” This is a significant difference between a public versus private employee, as the no-strike law only applies to public employees.

2. Failure to Negotiate

  • 2.1 RNRPh: Administration has failed to continue bargaining toward a new union contract. - R. Mack, Union Attorney
  • 2.2 RNRPh: Administration has only negotiated with us 12 times since the start of negotiations. - Pam Campbell, RNRPh Chairperson
  • 2.3 RNRPh: The union says that they have called in a federal mediator. - Per Joel Feick, NBC25 (1/27/17)

HMC: Management has been in at least 39 negotiation sessions with 213 hours scheduled in those sessions.

Management, not Union Leadership, requested a state-appointed mediator when it became clear in December 2016 that that no progress was being made.

Despite 8 negotiating sessions with a state-appointed mediator, no substantive progress was made.

2.4 RNRPh: “We have not had a bargaining session with the full 7 member negotiating team since December 1, 2016.“ - Pam Campbell in a written speech to the Board (7/26/17)

HMC: In December it was determined that no progress was being made and a state appointed mediator was requested by management. With a mediator it is typical that the two parties stay in separate rooms and the mediator serves as the go between, taking information back and forth to each party. It is sometimes referred to as shuttle diplomacy. In our case, we were willing to continue to meet face to face with the RNRPh union. It was determined that the mediator would involve the lead negotiator from each side, Attorney Richard Mack for the Union and Attorney John Clark for Hurley. Hurley also included one representative from management, these varied between Barry Fagan, Labor Relations Officer, Beth Brophy, Sr Finance Administrator and Teresa Bourque, Senior Administrator for Nursing depending on availability as we wanted to make sure we could keep these sessions as scheduled. The Union always included Pam Campbell, Bargaining Chairperson, as the accompaniment to Attorney Richard Mack. During caucuses, the RNRPh Union would meet with the other members of their bargaining team who had been released for union business for those scheduled sessions. Due to the mediating process, it is important to understand the distinction in how negotiating teams are involved in the bargaining process. This statement utilizes a play on words to make it look like HMC was the one limiting the number of negotiation sessions or limiting the number of people that the union could have present.

3. Staffing and Mandatory Overtime

3.1 RNRPh: “We need to run with appropriate staff.” - Pam Campbell

HMC: Management is unaware of a written proposal from Union Leadership regarding any of the following:

  • Changes to Article 25 – Staffing and Patient Ratios, related to nurses.
  • Changes to Article 28 – Overtime, Additional Hours, Staffing Shortages, regarding the number of mandatory hours.
  • Changes to Article 29 – Scheduling, related to staffing shortages, overtime, safety concerns, etc.

3.2 RNRPh: “They violate staffing rules regularly.” - R. Mack

HMC: Because Union Leadership never provided language to propose a change in the contract related to nurse Staffing and Patient Ratios, Management can only presume that this is not a contractual/negotiation issue but rather a tactic to try and scare patients, the community and physicians in an effort to force Management to concede to other demands.

Because Staffing Councils, referenced in the current contract and established for this very purpose, have been utilized effectively in the past, the CEO and Teresa Bourque have instructed each unit to provide them with information from their individual units so that an appropriate group of nursing leaders can review the details to determine 1) if a staffing issue exists and 2) whether the root cause is actually the number of nurses, retention/turnover, sick days, vacation days, poor scheduling practices, time in orientation, or other (such as the “blue flu” recently referenced on the RNRPh Facebook page). Management has always agreed that working greater than the scheduled amount of hours is not ideal for patients, staff or its fiscal responsibility.

3.3 RNRPh: “…it just really doesn’t make sense…with Hurley being on front lines helping people deal with lead poisoning and its effects,” - R. Mack, Detroit Free Press (6/20/17)

HMC: Hurley Medical Center has not had any patients admitted to the hospital or seen in the emergency department and given a diagnosis related to lead poisoning.

Management is disappointed that anyone would try and use the situation in Flint to promote their own interests.

3.4 RNRPh: We do not have enough nurses


HMC RN/RPH Turnover Data - 7/1/15 to 6/30/17 Overall (Union) RNs Pharmacists
HMC Turnover (Average Annual based on 2017 HeadCount) 10.48% 10.37% 16.67%

National Benchmarks 2015 2016 Average
Hospital Turnover - Bureau of Labor Statistics 13.60% n/a 13.60%
Bedside RN Turnover - Nursing Solutions, Inc 17.20% 14.60% 15.900%
Pharmacists Turnover - Nursing Solutions, Inc 9.70% 7.50% 8.60%

*Turnover includes all separations – terminations, resignations, retirements and deaths

From Hurley Medical Center Facebook: The data figures are difficult to read. The x and y axis both need appropriate labels to be useful. What story are you trying to tell? (8/03/17)

HMC: The first graph shows how many full time nurses we have had in each pay period for fiscal years 15 to current 18. For example, the first pay period of FY 18 shows 646 full time RNs as compared to 554 in the first pay period of FY15. This graph does not include any part time nurses, only the full time as it is a demonstration of how the hospital has added to the # of full time positions.

The second graph shows the amount of OT by pay period in full time equivalents for each fiscal year 15 through fiscal year 17. For example, the first pay period in FY 17 shows OT FTEs of 34.4, which equates to 344 eight hour OT shifts, or an average of 25 each day of that pay period.

The third graph shows the # of FTEs (full time equivalents) of unscheduled absences (call offs) that occur by pay period for each fiscal year since 2015. For example, in the second pay period of FY18 there were 55 FTEs of call offs. This represented 550 eight hour shifts of unscheduled absences that pay period, or an average of 39 eight hour shifts of unscheduled absences each day of that pay.

Number of Full Time Employees

Overtime FTEs

RN Unscheduled Absences - FTEs

3.5 RNRPh: “Many nurses are here to tell you first-hand about some of the poor management practices occurring today. We hope you listen and take their message to heart.” - Pam Campbell in a written speech to the Board (7/26/17)

HMC: There were no first-hand accounts provided at the Board meeting from the approximately thirteen nurses that accompanied Pam.

4. Benefits

4.1 RNRPh: “They continue to take from the nurses…retirement, weekend benefits, shift premiums, shift differentials…” - Kevin Fitzpatrick, RNRPh member to WNEM News (7/21/17)

HMC: LBO reflects:

  • No changes in shift differential (aka shift premiums)
  • No changes in retirement
  • No changes in weekend benefits

It is unfortunate that a member of the union negotiating team, in possession of the full LBO prior to making these statements, would make such an inflammatory and untrue statement.

4.2 RNRPh: “Did you know that as a retiree, if management is successful with refusing to bargain, there will be NO protections for you as a retiree. The first thing they will do is go after your retiree benefits.” - Union Facebook page (7/25/17)

HMC: This an interesting spin by the Union since they do not bargain for retirees, however, please note that HMC did not propose any retirement changes for current employees or retirees. HMC doesn’t understand the need to frighten people about something as important as retiree health benefits when no changes were proposed.

5. Communication, LBO, Contract Termination

5.1 HMC: Redline Response

HMC: At approximately 4pm on August 4, 2017, Barry Fagan sent a “redline” of the Last Best Offer to the RNRPh Members via email, with the following statement:

Attached please find a PDF that was created by utilizing the compare function in Microsoft Word (“redline” or tracking changes) to identify the differences between the previous contract and the one that was submitted to union leaders as a Last Best Offer. The original document was not submitted as a “redline” with track changes because it was not a proposal – it was a Last Best Offer. As stated in the communication sent to union leaders and attached to the Last Best Offer, after nine months of negotiating with the full group and another several months of negotiating with a state-appointed mediator (and being stuck for multiple sessions talking about jury duty benefits for third shift employees), it was a final attempt to reach a reasonable resolution. Hopefully, this will provide the additional information that is needed to prompt a vote on the Last Best Offer.

As many of you probably know, the “track changes” function in Microsoft Word captures every change, including when something is moved, font is changed, formatting or margins corrected, etc. This was a document that was initially created by previous legal counsel, converted from an earlier versions of Microsoft, and with multiple individuals providing input. As a result, and because the attached document captures every single change, it must be reviewed carefully because even language that appears to have been stricken or added may actually have been moved due to spacing, formatting, or just because it was more appropriate in a different paragraph or section. In addition to this being a Last Best Offer and not a proposal, this is another reason Hurley Management was reluctant to present a redline version. Again, please review carefully with that in mind.

Mary A. Storm
Vice President & General Counsel
(810) 262-7274

5.2 RNRPh: “Administration is bullying us with emails and letters.” - Aldo Gecel, RNRPh member

HMC: Part of being an adult is the ability to rationally communicate controversial issues. Such dialogue is not bullying.

Because of the amount of misinformation, Management was sincere in their attempts to inform employees in a transparent and uniform manner. Email is the most efficient means of doing so.

5.3 RNRPh: RNRPHh moved forward last Friday with proceedings to vote to allow members to authorize a strike. The vote is set for August 9th. - Detroit Free Press, Union Leadership (7/25/17)

HMC: Instead of allowing RNRPH membership the opportunity to vote on the LBO, much talk has occurred regarding the strike vote. As an organization, we must comply with laws that prevent employees of a public organization from striking. Management does not want to, but it will if necessary, take action against employees that fail to comply with the law.

5.4 RNRPh: ”Also the reason the membership at large is not voting on it is multifaceted however it was brought to the members and we said NO! (Which the hospital is not willing to recognize.) This was discussed and voted on in the meetings held at the Dutcher Center in June.” - Kathleen McIllmurray, RNRPh member

HMC: Although management does not know the specifics or parameters surrounding the June 20th meeting, we trust that the union would have followed its bylaws related to a vote.

5.5 RNRPh: “For those who don’t know… a “last best offer” is when there has been no movement/bargaining and this is as good as they are going to give. Their last position. The reason that this is not a “last best offer” is the numerous changes that they bullet pointed to everyone and the changes they didn’t. So this isn’t a “last best offer” - Kathleen McIllmurray, RNRPh member

HMC: There is no legal basis for this assertion. A last best offer is not uncommon in situations like this. Instead of semantics, a better question is why the Union Leadership will not allow members to vote on it.

5.6 RNRPh: Why did Hurley terminate the contract?

HMC: Per email from Labor Relations Officer, Barry Fagan to RNRPh members July 18, 2017, this action was only taken after receiving confirmation from union attorney that Union Leadership would not be giving the LBO to its members for a vote.

5.7 RNRPh: “GAP is being changed per Barry…this is another unilateral change on their part” - Pam Campbell

HMC: Labor Relations Officer, Barry Fagan did not say that Management was going to change GAP pay. Barry informed Pam that he had been told that it appeared GAP was being paid incorrectly and suggested a meeting to sort it out. He had instructed TMS clerks to continue to pay as is.

5.8 RNRPh: “We can’t even review the rewritten contract because its not in redline form and would take many hours.” - R. Mack

HMC: Convert it from PDF to Word and run the Compare function – it will take less than a minute.

5.9 RNRPh: “They just emailed little more than what amounts to a draft document and said ‘here sign this.’ We won’t tell you what the changes are, we won’t answer any questions you have, we won’t even tell you if the copy you were emailed is the same copy we are working from today.” - Pam Campbell in a written speech to the Board (7/26/27)

HMC: The initial letter to Richard Mack by Hurley’s attorney, John Clark, summarized HMC’s reasons for issuing the Last Best Offer (LBO), provided a detailed summary, stated that it was being presented through the mediator and asked the union’s executive committee to take the LBO to its full membership…not “sign it”. In addition, HMC had its attorney follow-up with a letter on June 21, clarifying that a detailed summary had been provided and stating that HMC was willing to meet with Pam and Richard Mack to review and answer questions. Click here to see the June 21 letter offering to meet and answer questions.

5.10 RE: Unfair Labor Practice Allegation 9/08/17

HMC: We are pleased the judge did not find fault with either party and instead asked both parties to work together next week in anticipation of fact finding (a legal process requested by Hurley that increases the transparency of negotiations).