Bishop Noa Workers Ratify First Contract

Workers at Bishop Noa Home in Escanaba, Mich., ratified their first contract July 15 after a bitter, protracted battle to secure a deal.

The approximately 55 certified nursing assistants and dietary, environmental services and laundry workers at the senior living center will form two new units of Local 2-21. Members of Local 2-21, many of whom work at the nearby Verso paper mill, stood in solidarity with Bishop Noa workers throughout their campaign to beat back major concessions and finally secure an agreement.

Bishop Noa workers first organized nearly four years ago. They came to the table committed to negotiating a fair deal but were instead subjected to repeated attempts to break their resolve, including management bringing in an out-of-town union-busting lawyer who tried to bully workers into submission. 

Even without a contract, the union was able to prevent widescale layoffs over the course of negotiations and advocate for the workers during the pandemic, including securing across-the-board hazard pay.

Now, thanks to the agreement, they have a formal voice in the workplace that gives them a say in vital issues like workplace health and safety.

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