Former Trinity Health Michigan employees file labor complaint

UPDATE 4 PM, 3/18/23: This story has been updated to include a written response from Trinity Health Michigan.

Trinity Health Michigan employees who say they were recently fired for union organizing efforts have filed unfair labor practice complaints against the company with the federal government.

Eleven employees said they were fired after filing internal complaints about unsafe working conditions and the company retaliated against unionization attempts.

Matthew Miller was a lab technician at Trinity Health Michigan. He said many staff reached a breaking point when their supervisor, who had supported their union efforts, was fired. A complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board says the supervisor was ordered to search “the person and property of employees, without employee permission, for union registration cards.” Employees said the manager refused the search and claimed the manager was later fired. Trinity Health Michigan officials say the manager left voluntarily.

The 11 lab technicians say they took a day off after their manager was fired. “Many employees reached an emotional breaking point on Thursday and went through normal procedures to take a day off and go home,” a spokesperson for the union Service Employees International said in a statement. The next day, the lab techs said, they were told not to come to work. He says the following Monday, the band was fired.

Miller said he was concerned the Trinity Medical Center the workers serve was already understaffed. He said he feared the abrupt layoffs would lead to longer wait times.

“Retaliation for trying to form a union is not only illegal, it is terrible and affects our patients here,” Miller said. “Really, I just want to get back to work. I want to take care of my patients because that’s what I live for.”

Trinity Health Michigan immediately responded to requests for comment, but released a statement Friday afternoon calling Michigan’s SEIU Healthcare claims “absurd and grossly misrepresented.”

“Trinity Health Michigan denounces the baseless and defamatory allegations made by SEIU Healthcare of Michigan following the sudden and unexpected absences of laboratory employees at three of our ambulatory blood collection sites,” the statement read.

Trinity Health Michigan says the ambulatory lab workers abandoned their positions and patients voluntarily and without notice, and their employment was terminated as a result.

Trinity Health Michigan is a corporate sponsor of Michigan Radio.

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