Our Union has been involved in ongoing negotiations with management over the past several weeks regarding a possible layoff if our Union does not agree to management’s plan for creating of float pools.
We believe that management’s plan is faulty. Our Union has worked with management and given them many ideas on how they can staff more efficiently. The hospital is spending enormous amounts of money on overtime, missed break payments, and hiring Registry staff. Even with all this money going out, the units remain understaffed.
Our Union believes that the hospital should look at all options, not just layoffs or float pools and nothing more. We are willing and able to work together with management to make sure that the hospital is running in a cost-efficient manner while at the same time ensuring that every unit has the appropriate level of staffing to provide safe, quality patient care.
We won’t agree to incomplete, poorly planned Float Pools and make our fellow RNs suffer the consequences because management is holding layoffs over our head as a “motivator.”
Our Union also plans to file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board because we believe that management violated the National Labor Relations Act by directly communicating their plans to members and attempting to get members to side with them without going through the negotiations process, as required by our Collective Bargaining Agreement. We also believe that the information provided was incorrect, misleading and an attempt to coerce our members into believing management’s stand on the issue.
Our Union is Not Opposed to Well-Planned Float Pools
Our Union is certainly not opposed to Float Pools, in fact our Union was the first to propose them in our last negotiations with management in 2008. That proposal was rejected by management. Had that proposal been discussed and an agreement reached, there would be float pools operating in the hospital today.
And our Union may propose Float Pools again, but at the proper time and place, which is during contract negotiations. Management has already received our notice to reopen the contract. We expected to be at the table bargaining our new contract before the end of this month. The only place to rewrite the contract — that members negotiated and voted to accept — is at the bargaining table. That way, we can fully discuss options and get full information on what is needed to staff units properly.
At this time, we have not been provided a complete proposal. What management gave us was a poorly worded document that we believe contained only an outline of their proposal. We need the full proposal before we can make a decision. As one member put it, “They are asking us to buy the car without knowing if there is an engine in it”.
Management could not provide our Union with information on how many float pools are needed or job descriptions for RNs participating in a Float Pool.
The bottom line is, staff on nearly every unit have reported continued use of overtime and registry to staff their units on almost a daily basis. RNs say they are unable to take meal periods or breaks on almost a daily basis. Charge nurses have to take on patient care assignments regularly. The community is protesting in front of the hospital.
Management’s layoff plan doesn’t reflect actual staffing needs at the hospital no matter what their financial numbers say. We must work together to find a workable solution.
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