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For the publisher:
The Department of Justice of the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship strongly supports the Portage nurses in their negotiations for a raise. We were surprised to learn that the nurses working for UPHS – Portage were the lowest paid in the Upper Peninsula. Kendra Benson, an emergency room nurse, put it forcefully when she said: “We need a competitive salary scale with our competing hospitals in order to recruit and retain these nurses.”
Nurses are our front line workers. These people work tirelessly to help keep us healthy and safe. They continued to work under the difficult conditions created by the pandemic. It is imperative for nurses and for all of us that they receive fair wages and decent and predictable working conditions.
The current situation is unbearable for working nurses and a dangerous situation for all of us. As a community, we depend on our hospitals to establish and maintain working conditions that ensure a full and well-rested medical team. Nurses are the backbone of this important service.
We call on LifePoint, a Tennessee-based company and owner of our local UPHS – Portage hospital, to increase nurses’ salaries and dramatically improve their working conditions. Nurses are not heard and taken seriously by this out-of-state company, even though they and other medical staff and employees are the people who create profits for LifePoint. This is another example of for-profit healthcare that fails to meet the human needs of nurses and patients.