On September 13, Unite Here! Local 24 held an informational picket of about 300 support staff at McLaren Bay Region Hospital in Bay City, Michigan. The workers in Local 24 are nurse aides, nurse clerks, surgical support teams, housekeeping, maintenance, and others.

Detroit and Ohio nurses picket, September 2023. [Photo: UNITE HERE Local 24]

The previous contract for these workers expired in February 2023. Workers recently voted by 99 percent to authorize a strike, decisively rejecting the hospital’s latest contract offer. Since then, management has refused to budge from its position.

The workers at McLaren Bay Region confront similar conditions to those of healthcare workers around the country, including unsafe staffing levels and extremely low pay.

The 415-bed acute care hospital is part of the $6.6 billion McLaren Health Care system, which comprises 28,000 employees and provides services to 732,838 people in Michigan and Indiana.

Despite the system’s nonprofit status, McLaren Bay Region is run like a for-profit company: the income goes to fund the bloated salaries of executives and top managers. According to tax records from ProPublica, in the fiscal year 2021 the hospital paid its highest-paid employees nearly $10.7 million, an increase of almost $2.5 million from the previous year. This increase accounts for more than 9 percent of the increase in the hospital’s net revenue during the same period.

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