Outsourcing dispute could cost nurses their jobs

Posted at 4:35 PM, Dec 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-29 18:15:35-05

A battle of nerves is underway for a metro Detroit hospital group and dozens of its nurses, being called courageous.

Their jobs are being outsourced and they refuse to keep working without knowing the new work rules. They could be out of a job on Friday with the new year.

A meeting is happening within the hour with the 68 nurses and their attorney.

He tells me, he was given those work rules this morning - 94 pages – but he can’t share them because they are confidential. So this is still very much, unresolved.

The 68 nurse anesthetists work 24-7 for emergency and scheduled surgeries at St. John Providence in Southfield and at Providence Park in Novi.

Many have worked for the hospitals for years, some for decades.

The new outsourced company was formed by a local anesthesiologist, Dr. Dominick Lago, who told 7 Action News he had no comment on this bitter labor dispute today.

The attorney for the nurses says they would get the same base pay, but have reduced benefits and those unknown work rules.

And to play hardball, the company has told the nurses they are not fired, but resigned, so no severance pay and they have to buy their own health care coverage.

They are getting national attention on twitter, with supporters tweeting: don’t muzzle them and very sad it comes to this.

The hospital group says it is moving on with or without the holdout nurses with this statement:

St. John Providence is continuing with its plan to transition Anesthesia Services provided by Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) at Providence-Providence Park Hospital to PSJ Anesthesia on Jan. 1, 2016.  PSJ Anesthesia is affiliated with Northland Anesthesia, a respected national anesthesia provider.  It is a common practice for health systems to contract with business partners to provide certain services.

Currently-employed CRNAs are still being offered the opportunity to request transition of employment from St. John Providence to PSJ, with comparable pay and benefits. Their employment with St. John Providence discontinues Dec. 31, 2015. The PSJ Anesthesia staffing model is complete and  ready to go. All anesthetizing locations are 100% operational, and will continue to provide safe and efficient anesthesia services after December 31, 2015, without any interruption in care. Quality patient care remains our highest priority at Providence-Providence Park Hospital.