Teamsters, Community Leaders Rally Outside Ascension Health

Sep 29, 2011, 14:11 ET from Teamsters Local Union 332

Michigan Nurses Protest Ascension's Policies that Threaten Worker, Patient Safety

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Registered nurses from Ascension Health's Genesys Regional Medical Center in Flint, Mich. rallied outside of Ascension Health's corporate headquarters in St. Louis today, where they protested cuts that would alter working conditions and impact direct patient care.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100127/IBTLOGO)

The nurses are members of Local 332 in Flint and were joined by advocates from Missouri Jobs with Justice and other community leaders.

"The nurses at Genesys see the care and safety of their patients as the highest priority, but the cuts in nursing and support staff are dramatically increasing their workloads. They are struggling to follow the Code of Ethics for Nurses, which states that nurses must strive to protect the health, safety and rights of their patients," said Nina Bugbee, President of Teamsters Local 332 in Flint. "The code of ethics also states that nurses must participate in improving conditions of employment conducive to the provision of quality health care. These RNs should be able to give feedback about changes to the delivery of care, but Ascension refuses to listen."

"We are here because we believe in dignity and quality patient care," said Martin Rafanan, co-chair of the Workers' Rights Board of Missouri Jobs with Justice. "Nurses must have a voice in the workplace. When we are most vulnerable and need care, we should count on our non-profit hospitals to be places where nurses are advocates for patients, where their voices are respected and where quality care is a shared goal."

This year's proposed cuts by Ascension Health come on the heels of earlier cuts Local 332 members successfully fought against. Last year, licensed nurses and technicians fought 10 months for a fair contract at Genesys. The hospital had wanted to cut their wages and eliminate the health care protections that had been promised to retired workers.

Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

SOURCE Teamsters Local Union 332