Over 1,000 workers at McLaren health have been placed on temporary furlough due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Michigan Nurses Association is calling on the hospital system to cut executive salaries before laying off nurses.
The nurses union said staff should be retrained to assist frontline healthcare workers before getting furloughed or laid off.
Josh Straus works at McLaren Central Michigan. He said he has been fully furloughed for two weeks.
“We were asked to take a furlough to try and help the hospital, to try and help the community hospital. And yet there is nobody above that is doing that. It looks poorly on that situation from my viewpoint.”
Straus said he tried to get retrained to continue working but was denied.
“It basically put everybody in a hard spot throughout the McLaren system. The nurses and supporting staff are taking these furloughs and pay cuts and trying to figure out how to manage their families and besides those staff and the frontline staff there’s nobody else being asked to do that.”
A spokesperson for McLaren said 750 top leaders at the company up to and including the CEO have taken pay cuts - but would not provide details on how much or what percent of salaries were cut. The spokesperson said the company is doing what it can to avoid permanent layoffs but noted it is still early in the pandemic.
A spokesperson for the Nurses Association says minor executive cuts are “symbolic hand waving” and a real investment in frontline workers is needed.