Not Feeling like “Springtime”

Michigan Medicine wage offer to HOA leaves residents further behind

As you have no doubt noticed, the chill of the Michigan winter has decided to overstay its welcome. Blessed with rather frigid temperatures over the weekend, it can scarcely be believed that spring and some warmth are around the corner. Here at HOA headquarters, our bargaining team anxiously awaited a different kind of “warmth” today as the administration’s negotiating team presented their first proposal on wages for our members. Sadly, we must report that the pleasant sunshine that would come with decent pay was not waiting for us. Michigan Medicine proposed a four-year contract with yearly raises of 3%, 2.5%, 2.5%, and 2%, an amount that does not even meet the local increases in costs of living and serves as an effective cut in real wages. 

As those following along already know, HOA made its first proposal on wages on January 31st. We were very clear then that the salaries of House Officers have been eaten away by the increased cost of living in Washtenaw County (and Ann Arbor in particular), along with the highest inflation seen in the US in decades. This all comes at a time when our members are being asked to do more and more since the outbreak of Covid-19, often used as a backstop for the numerous staff shortages in other job classifications at the hospital. 

Plastic surgery resident and bargaining team member Jaclyn Mauch made a comprehensive presentation to the university team, demonstrating that our wages have not kept up with the cost of living. As a response, we were told that the University of Michigan’s compensation philosophy does not factor in the cost of living. As of the publication date of this article, U of M's compensation philosophy is cloudy and out of focus. What is crystal clear, however, is that Michigan Medicine is falling behind its peers in terms of compensation.

Your bargaining team remains determined to fight for higher wages. Dr. William Weir, HOA Vice President from the department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, said, “The initial proposal by the employer made it clear just how many university initiatives and line items are valued more than the house officers. Residents are vital to making the clinical enterprise function, and we would like to be able to afford to live where we work.”

House Officers shouldn’t be left out in the cold like this. Your bargaining team and HOA will continue to push until we see the sunshine you all deserve after such a long dark winter. We will fight until better pay and benefits are blossoming at Michigan Medicine. 

Want to help us thaw out the hospital’s pocketbook? Go to our negotiations hub, follow us on social media, and join the WhatsApp group for updates.