Teamsters plan picket; strike could follow




GRAND BLANC TWP.
— Teamsters Local 332 President Nina Bugbee said a strike could happen in late August or early September following an informational picket on Aug. 18.

Workers were notified of the picket, which will run from 3-6:30 p.m. outside of Genesys Health Park in Grand Blanc Township, at their Aug. 4 meeting at the Teamsters headquarters in Flint. After the picket, Bugbee told union members that she plans to give Genesys the 10-day legal notice to strike if the technical workers call for it.

“I still believe there is going to be a strike unless they want to get back to the table and negotiate a new deal,” Bugbee said.

The last informational picket on June 29 drew in about 500 people, and this time Bugbee is hoping to double the number of people picketing.

The Teamsters and Genesys have been wrapped up in contract negotiations since the technical bargaining unit contracts expired in March.

“We are down to the last leg of this, and it is time to take the gloves off,” said Bugbee. “It is time for all of us to say no, we have had enough and we are not going to work like this anymore.”

Genesys issued their “last, best and final offer” on June 24, and told union workers that the final offer will go into effect on Aug. 29.

The offer includes maintaining current wages, providing technical employees a 2 percent-a year increase over the next four years, switching from a defined benefit pension plan to a defined contribution pension plan, continued retiree healthcare coverage with no changes, continued healthcare plan coverage with “nominal increases” in employee premium contributions over the next four years, give current licensed practical nurses changes in pay and title and offer severance packages to emergency transport services employees.

During the meeting, Bugbee also told union members that Genesys has notified the union that they will begin to issue severance packages to the ambulance employees on Aug. 16 and Aug. 17.

Last week, 7,000 letters were sent out to physicians in Ascension health systems. Of those letters, 1,000 of them were sent to physicians at Genesys. The letter which was drafted by Michael Filler, director of the Teamsters public services division, summarized the struggles of the union members and urged the doctors to take a stand against Genesys.

“You are the ones that provide the care to their patients,” Bugbee said to the union members. “You are the ones putting the dollar in their (the doctor’s) pockets and the least they can do is go back and appeal for your pension and longevity.”

Should the strike happen, Bugbee said it could last anywhere from eight to 12 weeks.

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