MNA nurses had gone through three negotiation sessions with Grace, the latest owners of the Kinnic Nursing Home in River Falls, Wisconsin. They last left the table with management trying to take away family leave language, leave of absence days, to radically limit time for jury duty, and even reduce days off for the death of a child or spouse.
MNA nurses looked like they were headed toward mediation to get a new contract, but then they started showing that nurses were standing together. Bobbi Spence, and Suzanne Kitzmann, LPNs and bargaining unit leaders, started handing out red wristbands to their fellow union members.. Even though the unit has only 14 nurses and are split over day/night shifts, nurses wore the wristbands all the time to make the spirit known.
“We had never done that before,” Bobbi said, “I don’t know what management thought but it was an eye opener for them.”
Nurses ended up negotiating an agreement that not only turned back all the takeback language but also more holidays off, more weekends off, and got more nurses eligible for holiday pay if they worked that day.
Nurses voted overwhelmingly to ratify the agreement.