McLaren Health Care’s too secretive about finances, PPE, Michigan nurse union says

About McLaren Health Care

Ten nurse unions in Michigan are accusing McLaren Health Care of not being transparent about its finances and personal protective equipment supply during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the health system said it has shared some of that information.

Many of the nurse unions have filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that by not sharing information with front-line healthcare workers the Grand Blanc, Mich.-based health system is violating federal labor law, a media release from the Michigan Nurses Association states.

According to the association, each of its 10 unions received a letter from the health system May 15, in which the system refused to divulge how much funding it received in federal COVID-19 grants. The health system also has refused to provide details about its protective gear inventory, the unions allege.

“The fact that they won’t share basic financial information with those of us working on the front lines makes you wonder if they have something to hide,” said Christie Serniak, a nurse at McLaren Central Michigan hospital in Mount Pleasant and president of the Michigan Nurses Association affiliate.

But the health system maintains it has been transparent and has worked with labor unions and bargaining units across the system since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve openly shared information about our operations, the challenges of restrictions on elective procedures, our plans for managing influxes of patients and our supplies of personal protective equipment,” Shela Khan Monroe, vice president of labor and employment relations at McLaren Health Care told Becker’s Hospital Review.

Ms. Khan Monroe said that the information has been shared through weekly meetings, departmental meetings and several union negotiation sessions over the last two months.

The unions also say that the health system has not offered its workers hazard pay or COVID-19 paid leave that is on par with other systems. They say that only workers who test positive for COVID-19 can take additional paid time off.

In a written statement, McLaren disputed the union’s claims about employee leave, saying that employees “dealing with child care and other COVID-related family matters” can take time off to care for loved ones.

McLaren did not specify if this time off is paid. Becker’s has reached out for clarification and will update the article once more information is available.

“We have negotiations pending with several of the unions involved in the coalition, and while we are deeply disappointed in these recent tactics, we will continue to work towards productive outcomes for all concerned,” said Ms. Khan Monroe.

Recently, a coalition of unions urged McLaren Health Care executives to reduce their own salaries before laying off employees.




Cartoon – Just Two on the Front Lines Who Checkout Hundreds of People a Day

Slavery 21st Century

Romney calls for hazard pay for workers on the front line of the pandemic

Why Workers Are Asking for Hazard Pay

Sen. Mitt Romney is proposing a plan to better compensate health-care workers, grocery store employees and other essential personnel working through the coronavirus pandemic as the issue of hazard pay becomes a growing flash point in the next round of emergency relief negotiations.

Romney (R-Utah), the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee, wants to boost the pay of qualifying essential workers by up to $12 per hour for the next three months, a bonus that could be as much as $1,920 a month.

“This is a proposal which I think is fiscally responsible but also recognizes the additional risk that people are taking,” Romney said in a phone interview with The Washington Post on Friday.

He noted that an essential worker who earns less than $22 per hour may ultimately be paid less than someone earning unemployment benefits that were bolstered by Congress in recent virus rescue packages.

“That’s not fair, number one,” Romney said. “And number two, it would create an anomaly, of course, for people to be taking additional risk of their health and have someone else not working making more than they are.”

The idea of hazard pay — additional compensation for those on the front lines of the pandemic — has broad conceptual support in Washington, yet neither lawmakers nor the Trump administration addressed the issue in the economic and health relief bill, totaling nearly $3 trillion, passed thus far.

President Trump has spoken in general terms about providing additional pay to critical medical personnel, and the White House has indicated that the administration is working with Congress on doing so. Senate Democrats have released a plan, dubbed the “Heroes Fund,” that provides up to $25,000 per person for a broad category of essential personnel including not just health-care employees but also food workers and delivery drivers.

Romney’s proposal covers a similarly broad swath of workers. The Labor Department and Congress would determine what industries would be deemed “essential,” but they would include at a minimum hospitals, food distributors and manufacturers. Employers would have to prove that workers would be in conditions that increased their exposure to the coronavirus to qualify for the bonus.

Three-quarters of that additional money would be paid for by the federal government in the form of a refundable payroll tax credit, and the rest would be picked up by their employer. That pay boost would last from May 1 through July 31 under Romney’s plan.

Someone earning $50,000 or less per year would receive an additional $12 per hour, with the hourly increase gradually phased out as salaries increase. The maximum qualifying salary would be $90,000.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor with a lengthy business background, has spoken to other GOP senators and said that while opinions may differ, the concept of hazard pay could be gaining traction among Republicans.

“It strikes me that we’re open to considering a wide array of opportunities to help people that are serving the public,” Romney said. “And a number of individuals have expressed an openness to considering different ideas.”