Can you recite the values of Borgess Health System? Let me help:

  • Service of the Poor – generosity of spirit, especially for persons most in need
  • Reverence – respect and compassion for the dignity and diversity of life
  • Integrity – inspiring trust through personal leadership
  • Wisdom – integrating excellence and stewardship
  • Creativity – courageous innovation
  • Dedication – affirming the hope and joy of our ministry

Recently, Borgess management wrote this comment on their intranet: “Borgess is confident that it has acted appropriately and consistently with its values, and we expect that the legal process will bear that out when this matter is finally over.”

I’m not going to break each of these down but I would submit that “inspiring trust through personal leadership” and “affirming the hope and joy of our ministry” has taken a sound beating during this “matter” called the contract negotiations.

How can you put a value on trust? Or hope and joy? Because of the “winner takes all” position, everyone is now walking around the hospital wary of what’s around the corner. I know nurses at Borgess that are some of the most joyful people anywhere and I have seen the physical and mental toll these negotiations have taken on them. Is that really what anyone wanted?

And yet, the nurses keep slogging on through the dirt and muck that are the negotiations because at the end of it all, it is still 59 pages of their contract that they’re desperate to protect. Borgess management grinds its collective teeth that this contract is not finalized, sealed and put into the “score one for the team” file. It is a mind-numbing, grueling process, tough on everyone. Time marches wearily onward and the nurses put their shoulders to the wheel and keep pushing.

And Borgess says that they have acted “appropriately and consistently with its values.” Refusing to negotiate. Threatening lockouts. One on one mandatory meetings. Holding to a “take it or leave it” attitude about their proposal.

Why even bother having value statements at all?


This week, we’re collecting letters of support for the Borgess nurses. Here’s some sample copy below:

Paul Spaude, FACHE
President and Chief Executive Officer
Borgess Medical Center

I am writing to show my support of the Borgess Medical Center registered nurses in their fight for safe patient care and a fair contract. Please begin to negotiate in good faith.


You can cut and paste the above into a Word document, sign it and fax/mail/email it to:

Ann Sincox
Michigan Nurses Association
2310 Jolly Oak Road
Okemos, MI 48864
517.349.5818 fax

We want hundreds of letters from everywhere. Feel free to add your own comments! Please send in your letter by Friday, June 25. Your help is greatly appreciated!

For more information on the Borgess nurses contract struggle, click here.


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