As the November 1 deadline for COVID-19 vaccinations for all Michigan medical personnel approaches, the university health system has yet to figure out how to introduce mandatory policies for its 6,150 nurses.
Last December, the system ratified a one-year collective bargaining extension with the University of Michigan Board of Nursing Independent Union, which freed nurses from vaccination powers and instead required the system to negotiate with the union about the necessary vaccinations.
The agreement says: “… The employer will vaccinate against COVID-19 free of charge and on a voluntary basis.”
Negotiations have not yet begun, but are expected to begin in the next few weeks, confirmed Crain’s public relations director Mary Masson.
Masson was unable to confirm how many of the 6,150 are already vaccinated, but said many are.
“Michigan Medicine is following a collective bargaining agreement with our nursing union that requires us to agree on a vaccination mandate,” Masson said in an email statement. “We are currently asking our nurses to voluntarily report their vaccination status, but we have not yet completed all of these data. Many of our 6,150 nurses received the vaccine directly from Michigan Medicine. ”
Other Michigan Medicine unions were also allowed to withdraw from the mandate, but they chose not to, according to the Michigan Daily.
Members of the United Physician Assistants of Michigan Medicine voted in favor of the mandate, with 76 percent of members in favor of the mandate.
Negotiations between Michigan Medicine and the nursing union could be controversial as Medicare and Medicaid Centers are expected to authorize vaccinations for health care providers receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding.
However, this is not completely certain until the CMS issues its rule. The Biden administration is considered union-friendly.
“We’re going to have to wait and see what the mandate actually says,” said Sean Crotty, partner and chairman of Labor and Employment at Detroit law firm Honigman LLP.