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Union workers authorize strike at Lansing's Sparrow Hospital if contract agreement isn't reached

A nurse cares for a patient in the Sparrow Emergency Department
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
A nurse cares for a patient in Sparrow's Emergency Department. Staffing shortages and increasing patient volumes continue to put enormous pressure on an already burned out workforce.

Update: 11/22/2021 at 6:16 p.m.: A Sparrow spokesperson says the hospital has presented the bargaining team with a proposal that would increase wages for workers.

Original post:

Nurses and healthcare professionals at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing are prepared to strike if an agreement on their contract is not reached.

Union members overwhelmingly approved strike authorization in a vote that ended Sunday.

Bargaining teams are meeting Monday in hopes of reaching an agreement. Kevin Glaza is a pharmacist at Sparrow. He says the vote does not mean they will go on strike, but it gives union leadership the power to call for one if a deal isn’t reached.

"Right now, the balls in Sparrow’s court, we're waiting for a strong proposal that will help us recruit and retain our caregivers, so that we can provide the best possible care for our community," Glaza said.

According to a statement from Sparrow, the hospital is intent on reaching an agreement before that happens.

Destiny Griffith is a nurse at Sparrow. She says her and her colleagues are overworked and understaffed.

"When somebody is taking care of almost twice the number of patients that they should be care is going to suffer because you can only be in one place at one time," she said. "And you can only do so many things in 12 hours."

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community. Michelle is also the voice of WKAR's weekend news programs.
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