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Highlights From the Staffing Issues Committee

December 5, 2013

From our Union Stewards: Kathleen Burke, Jouse Kuy, Tjwana Holt, Stella Chavez, Monique Johnson, Elley Langsam, Donna Anderson, Cate Canava, Susan Farrell & Linda Perrin

Cate Canava, Kathleen Burke, Donna Anderson:

We welcomed CNO Stephanie Mearns to our Staffing Issues meeting. Cate Canava said, “We look forward to Stephanie’s  participation and working with her on this committee. We believe her leadership skills will make a difference. A management team member noted that the issues the managers discuss at their meetings are similar to the issues we discuss at our meeting. No surprise there. As we look forward, I am confident that our committee will be able to work together to address these common problems.”

RNs in ER, DOU, NICU, and Burn Center had asked committee members to address their concerns about staffing to core, the Charge RN being in patient care, and the need for additional staff. Kathleen Burke, ER, took the lead in the discussion and the hospital acknowledged that staffing is a mutual concern. Management said they continue to hire and are talking with their counterparts at HCA to see if they may use staffing registries other than Parallon Staffing.

Donna Anderson addressed issues from the Maternal Child Unit, including NICU staffing concerns, and issues raised by RNs in Couplet Care (formerly the Nursery and Post Partum units). Over the years, RNs in Couplet Care have requested a copy of the new policy. At this meeting, the hospital provided us with a copy of this long-awaited policy. Donna said, “This policy has been a major concern for nurses in the Couplet Care area. Although the policy is still working its way through the WH committee structure, we are happy that they finally implemented a policy. Policy reflects practice. Our hospital implemented a new practice so we need this guideline for care.”

In response to our concerns and in an effort to encourage RNs to work extra shifts, the management team agreed that RNs can sign up to work an extra shift any time after the final schedule has been posted. Past practice has been that RNs were only allowed to sign up for an extra shift a few days in advance of the shift. Kathleen Burke said, “If RNs are able to sign up in advance, we will be better able to plan our schedule.” Remember to sign up in the Nursing Office if you want to work an extra shift.

Note: The hospital also raised concerns about the increase in RNs calling in sick, which “unbalances” the schedule. We understand this concern but also note that RNs get sick, too, and have the right to use Kin Care or Family Medical Leave to care for sick family members. We wish that everyone has a healthy holiday season so that this issue does not come up.

If you are interested in being on the Staffing Issues Committee, please talk with a steward or Union Rep Judith Serlin.

Grievance Wins

Mary Jo Cowsill filed a grievance after being called off incorrectly. The hospital agreed to pay her base rate plus any applicable differentials because her hours for that pay period were reduced below her documented FTE status.

Note:  If a call-off error does not reduce an employee’s hours below his/her documented FTE status for that pay period, the error will be remedied solely by bypassing that employee the next time his/her name comes up in the call-off rotation.

Call off order:

1. Agency/Travelers

2. RNs earning premium pay

3. Per diem employees

4. FT and PT volunteers

5. All other employees on a rotating basis

Gen Tyau signed up to work an extra shift and believed she was first in the rotation. She was not worked that day and, before the day was out, her coworkers had advised her that someone else had worked the shift. She grieved the issue and she will be paid for the day because extra shifts are assigned from the list on a rotating basis starting over each work schedule with the most senior employee. If you believe you should have been assigned a particular extra shift but you were bypassed, talk with a steward.

Extra Shift Order:

1. FT and PT employees for whom such work would not result in overtime pay

2. All per diems for whom such work would not result in overtime pay

3. FT and PT for whom such work would result in overtime pay

4. Per diem employees for whom such work would result in overtime pay

Med Boxes

The hospital has agreed to move the Med Boxes up off the floor and has ordered the appropriate parts. Changes should be in effect by Dec. 20.

Bargaining Notes

Our contract expires in September 2014 and we are now preparing for bargaining. We will soon elect our Bargaining Team members and Chapter Officers, as well as distribute surveys to determine member priorities.

121RN Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to $1,000 scholarship winner Julie Fay, and to Donna Anderson, who won the Union’s $2,000 Robert Thomas Memorial Scholarship. The Thomas scholarship is given to one Union activist each year. Robert Thomas was a Union activist at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center who passed away several years ago.