Corewell Health nurses on verge of unionizing with goal to halt budget cuts

Excited nurses are on the verge of unionizing at Corewell Health in Metro Detroit claiming profits are being put before people.

Nurses from eight Corewell Health campuses across Metro Detroit are looking to unionize and become teamsters.

"Today is our first official teamster rally in support of our nurses," said Lisa Vergos, a retired nurse.

If they can get the votes — this would affect around 8,000 local nurses.

"We don’t have a seat at the table, we don’t have a say," said Vergos. "The teamsters taught us if you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re on the menu. And the Michigan nurses are tired of being on the menu."

The teamsters are gathering signature cards from Corewell nurses stating interest — currently they are around 40% — and with 50, they’ll take it to the National Labor Board for a future vote.

"They’ve been going through a long struggle," said Kevin D. Moore, Michigan Teamsters president.  "If you’ve noticed all these healthcare facilities are being bought out by hedge fund people that only care about dollars and cents and their money."

These nurses say their number one request — is to stop staffing and budget cuts, which leave nurses with too many patients.

Barbara Douglas, a nurse at Corewell in Troy is fighting for better health insurance.

"If we get sick can we afford to go the hospital? And the answer is no, we can’t," she said. "We don’t know if we can go to Corewell because we don’t know if it’s going to wipe out all our savings."

Corewell Health’s response to FOX 2:

"We are aware of union organizing activity taking place at some of our hospitals.  We respect team members’ right to choose to be represented by a union or to remain union free. We will continue to provide team members with information about unions, how unionization affects health care organizations, and our strong preference to maintain a direct working relationship with the incredible team members who serve our patients and communities."

Douglas wanted to share a message for undecided nurses:

"I’m here as a nurse with almost 30 years experience," she said. "I'm not afraid. Sign those cards, get a vote. Your voice will be heard through us."