Local 322 nurses and support staff at Genesys Regional Medical Center, Home, Health and Hospice Center and the Convalescent Center in Flint, Mich. won a key battle in the war against right-to-work-for-less laws in Michigan by ratifying a Union Security Agreement that runs through the year 2020.
The Union Security Agreement protects 1,535 members that fall under five Teamster contracts with Genesys from the destructive impact of Michigan’s right-to-work laws that took effect on March 28. The security agreement keeps the bargaining units intact by not allowing anyone to compromise the group by opting out of paying dues.
“Michigan right-to-work laws would only create issues between nurses on the job,” said Joan “Sunny” Bobb, a 43-year pre-op nurse at Genesys Regional Medical Center. “This law will only lead to conflict. If we all pay in for our representation, our union is stronger.”
The agreement was ratified just two days before the anti-union law would have made the security agreement illegal. Karen Wheeler, a 21-year restorative nursing assistant at the convalescent center, serves as steward to the 113 Local 332 members that secured a first contract in October 2012. Wheeler, a daughter of a Local 332 Teamster, doesn’t want anything to threaten the strength of the union she fought so hard to join.
“I knew firsthand that the Teamsters were always a strong union,” Wheeler said. “We tried 10 years ago to organize, but fell for promises that Genesys never kept. We were fed up and you can only take that for so long. This time we won, and management understands we needed the Teamsters.”
While this was an outstanding victory for Local 322, Nina Bugbee, President of the local, is ready for the long fight that will be necessary to repeal right to work in Michigan.
“We were able to accomplish this with the direction and guidance of General President Hoffa and the support of the International, the leadership of Greg Nowak, President of Joint Council 43 and our union attorneys,” Bugbee said. “However, this fight isn’t over until we knock Gov. Snyder out of office. We will put boots on the ground and mobilize our members so we can get this state heading back in the right direction!”