Nurses Speak Out to Protect Michigan Workers’ Voices

MNA members help lead pushback against Lansing’s attacks on collective bargaining

LANSING–(ENEWSPF)–March 5, 2012.  Michigan Nurses Association members are serving on the frontline of the fight to protect collective bargaining in Michigan, joining teachers, firefighters and other workers this week in launching an online petition to preserve this most basic and essential right.

“Michigan workers have to protect our voices now, before they are taken away from us altogether,” said Felicia Kieme, a registered nurse who lives in Ann Arbor and works at the University of Michigan Health System. “Collective bargaining simply allows residents to negotiate for what everyone who works hard for a living deserves: fair wages and benefits, basic security and a safe workplace. We have to stop Lansing politicians from destroying our basic rights just so they can score points with their corporate friends and increase the salaries of CEOs.”

The united effort comes amid union-bashing by presidential candidates as they prepare for Michigan’s primary next week and as the anti-worker atmosphere at the state Capitol intensifies. Lansing politicians have introduced nearly 90 bills to weaken or end collective bargaining.

The Michigan Nurses Association supports the online petition calling on Lansing politicians to reject this divisive, unnecessary assault on collective bargaining and workers’ rights. The website,, includes a list of the nearly 90 anti-worker bills introduced so far this legislative session.

“In Michigan, we know from decades of experience that collective bargaining is the key to workers being able to earn a living wage and provide good benefits and security for our families,” said John Karebian, Executive Director of the Michigan Nurses Association. “Workers need and deserve a voice in the workplace – that’s a right and a value that Michigan residents want to see protected.”

Ashley Forsberg, a registered nurse who works at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, said protecting Michigan workers – not CEOs – should be Lansing’s priority.

“To rebuild our economy, we need our elected leaders to protect our jobs, wages and benefits to build a thriving middle class so we can help small businesses create jobs,” said Forsberg, who lives in Delta Township. “These recent attacks on collective bargaining rights need to stop. Michigan workers helped create the middle class, and now we need to protect our collective bargaining rights.”