Administrator's Salaries - page 6

The Registered Nurses at St Catherines of Siena Catholic Health Systems (CHS) on Long Island, NY have been on strike for 20 days because their employer refuses to address their serious concerns about... Read More

  1. by   -jt
    <Just because she cant be a member of the union does not mean she has to be put on the opposite side of the union and her nurses. ...... You comment that the administrator is powerless. I disagree with that.>


    I second that. And all the other great suggestions you had about how a nurse executive can support her staff and make a difference. Ours did again recently and agreed with the staffing ratios we proposed while the hospital adminsitration fought us. The nursing administration pressured the hospital administration to agree with our ratios because as nurses, they knew what was safe. They didnt feel they had to fight against us because we are separated & sit on opposite sides of the table. We're all still nurses. Our nursing management worked with us to come up with the ratios we set, giving us dept data & staffing/census/acuity details so we could make an informed decision on each unit and then we stood firm on our proposal for staffing ratios to hospital administration. And we got those staffing ratios into our contract.

    Who said that the union of nurses at any facility has to automatically be against the nursing supervisors of their facility or vice versa? If thats the stand that some nurse managers like that one he mentions want to take, that is certainly their problem but it's not how we work as a union of nurses and nursing management. The whole idea of Labor/Management committees is for the nursing administration and the nurses to work together for solutions to the problems.

    Who said our nursing executives have no power? At my facility, our VP of Nursing is on the second tier of the organizational chart - right under the COO & CFO and this is the same line as our VP of Medical Affairs - which affords her the same amount of power as he.

    In one nasty labor battle we had, the new CEO was firing 2/3rds of our nursing managers - forcing each manager to take on responsibility for 3 units each where we previously had one for every unit. Saying he was going to put the power back into the MDs hands and put the nurses back where they belonged, he also fired all of our nursing dept directors & educators except for one to handle the JCAHO mandatories, fired our VP of Nursing, eliminated that position, & took our dept off the organizational chart - dividing us up & putting us under the control of the MDs in charge of the individual depts we work in. Totally decimating the nursing dept and eliminating nursing leadership at that hospital because we had a strong, pro-staff nurse Nursing Adminsitration (and probably because he didnt like that the VP of Nursing forced MDs to apologize to nurses whom they verbally abused).

    Our managers and supervisors are not in our union but that didnt stop us staff nurses from fighting tooth & nail to get them back. After the VP of Nurses was fired, the Director of Nurses was told to lay off 50 nurses. She said no way in hell - its unsafe to spread the staff nurses that thinly. She was promptly escorted out the door by security. Fired. As word spread that day, the nurses organized a collective response by 9am & at 12noon we all walked out of the hospital for 15 minutes, the time allotted our morning break, leaving interns, residents and 1 or 2 RNs on each floor so that no pt was abandoned. Nothing in the HR manual that said we couldnt all take our break together, so.....

    We had already tipped off the neighborhood to be out there at noon & community groups, elected officials, the newspaper, the firemen & cops with their sirens, along with some of our night shift nurses who came back just for this action, showed up to walk with us.

    What a sight to see 250 RNs streaming down 11 flights of stairs
    all in support of our nursing administration.... and walking right past the same very surprised security guards that had dragged our Director of Nurses out those doors earlier. It was a message the hospital very quickly figured out. We spent the 15 minutes interviewing with the newspaper & radio reporters about what was happening to the nursing dept inside the hospital and it was front page local news.

    The hospital was shocked....... and so was the Board of Directors.
    The hospital administration couldnt believe we were so supportive of our nursing administration & is probably still scratching their heads trying to figure out how we got such a massive response all together in just a few hours.

    There were other issues involved in this battle & when it was all over soon after this event, our nursing dept was put back the way it was, our managers, educators, assistant directors were recalled, the VP position reinstituted, & the dept of nursing back on the organizational chart as its own entity - not under MDs control. No RNs were laid off....... but the new CEO was fired.
    If we werent a union, we'd be working under the control of some MD, pushed back to the 1940's, and without a nursing administration today....... and that Hitler would still be there.

    This is just one example of why no one can tell me union nurses and their managers MUST be at odds with each other. There are numerous other examples every month. We talk to each other at our L/M meetings, bring up issues, address problems, find the solutions and do it all together. Sometimes it does get heated and sometimes things take longer to fix than we would like but the point is we can do it & we do it together - not by fighting against each other.

    Unless someone is there, experiencing it first hand, they cant possibly understand what its like to work side by side with your nursing dept leadership & as a strong union of nurses. But as you said, there doesnt need to be a union for nurse executives to support their staff in the ways you mentioned. We just dont see that happening too much except maybe in the few Magnet Hospitals. It doesnt happen in unionized hospitals either. If it was happening wide-spread, I doubt we would be in the situation we are in & having to fight so hard by ourselves. So whats wrong with them?

    Are most nursing administrators "yes girls", with no backbone, doing whatever the top brass says and watching that they dont get dragged out by security themselves? Why DIDNT that nurse manager stand up for her staff?
    Last edit by -jt on Jan 7, '02
  2. by   -jt
    <The main function of a labor union is to separate labor from management and to give labor a unified bargaining position.>


    Exactly. Thats the beauty of it.

    But that does not mean that the 2 groups cannot or dont work together for the common good.
    They do.

    You want to see the administration & the union of nurses as adversaries because they are separate. The fact is they are not adversaries.

    They are Partners.

    Take it from somebody who speaks from experience & knows more about how we work than somebody who has never even been part of a nurses labor union.
    Last edit by -jt on Jan 6, '02
  3. by   NRSKarenRN
    Beautifully said JT.

    You are certainly enlightening those of us without union experience to how a nursing union SHOULD be performing.

    It sounds like many nurses with your drive and passion for the profession are employed there....I know where to go if I get sick in NY now!
  4. by   -jt
    <You are certainly enlightening those of us without union experience to how a nursing union SHOULD be performing.>


    Thanks Karen. I dont know how other unions or even how other nurses unions perform. My comments are based on what I know about how our union performs. By "our union" I mean not only the NYSNA, but also the other 23 collective bargaining state associations that make up the UAN - same basic principles & similar procedures for all 100,000+ of us. But you are correct about NY nurses:

    <"sounds like many nurses with your drive and passion for the profession are employed there">

    Thats why we're so big, strong, and successful as an organization and one that is geared to direct-care issues. Its the nurses.... their mentality, committment & willingness to get involved.

    (we keep coming back to the same point, dont we?? LOL!)

    Anyway, I really liked Linda's (WashYaHands) suggestions. That was enlightening. Now how do we get more of our nurse executives to stand up like that?
  5. by   wildtime88
    Jt, how many times must I tell you that I have work and paid my dues within a labor union made up of registered nurses?

    It does create an adversarial role between nurses and it also does create segregation.

    It creates a division from regular staff nurses and those in mangament and administration.

    So I guess all the grievences that are written because management did this or did not allow this is a way of showing love to one another? I guess having to have a union steward present to witness a meeting between a staff nurse and a nurse manager is a show of trust and respect?
  6. by   donmurray
    I need to say that your argument is obviously based on out-of- date impressions gained when you used to be a union member. I can confirm jt's comment that Unions today are about partnership with employers in working to benefit all parties to the agreement. That way, everybody wins.
  7. by   wildtime88
    donmurray,

    Maybe things are a bit different in England.

    Here if everyone won and it was truly about a joint and mutual partnership, then there would be no reason to strike. Nor would there be a reason to threaten a strike the next time the contract came up. Actually there would be no reason for a union in the first place.
  8. by   -jt
    <paid my dues within a labor union made up of registered nurses?>


    But was it a professional nurses association labor union? And did it have a strong collective bargaining program? And were the nurse members involved & active in it??? Ah.... BIG difference

    You know the Teamsters are a labor union & has units that are "made up of" RNs. So do the Teachers and the Clerical Workers, and the Autoworkers unions. They all are labor unions that have groups made up of nurses. I'd rather put my money on a professional nurses labor union that is only made up of nurses.

    Youre talking about grievances..... big deal... dont you ever have a disagreement with anybody? Hmmm??? Grievances are a good thing. They force both sides to acknowledge a problem, work out the issue & come to a solution together rather than shut one side out. Grievances allow for the enforcing of our contract which, if you cant do, there is no point even having a contract.

    Grievances correct injustices which, in this imperfect world, occasionally do happen because we are dealing with human beings. No matter how hard we try to work together as partners, disagreements are bound to come up along the way & grievances help settle them. And grievances afford us a fair shake. We are not at the mercy of someones opinion, actions, or decisions.

    Where I work, grievances also are few and far between but both sides make an effort to work together every day.
    Last edit by -jt on Jan 7, '02
  9. by   wildtime88
    Originally posted by -jt
    <paid my dues within a labor union made up of registered nurses?>

    Where I work, grievances also are few and far between but both sides make an effort to work together every day.
    "Both sides"

    This sums up the underlying climate in respect to labor unions.
    Staff nurses on one side and Nurse Managers, Director's of Nursing, and Nursing Administators on the other. Need I say more about this and how the labor union philosopy pits nurse against nurse.

    Can't we come up with a better way without this happening?

    Remember that you are not likely to get much help from those you battled against yesterday. Not likely at all, especiallly with the way dislikes are manufactured and how long grudges are held in this profession.

    Some of you guys can be catty, I think that is the PC word, and it can be about something as a silly as a pair of shoes, a hair style, or just someone new, and worse of all it interferes with work and getting the job done. And I have seen just how well and quickly compromise take place and how quickly bad feeling are resolved. And I have seen the paper wars with grievences and personal write ups.
  10. by   Mijourney
    Hi. I like the informed debate going on with unionites and antiunionites. I can't call it right now. I'm just going along for the ride to see where it goes.

    I don't pretend to be an expert on the business and politics of health care. In fact, I know very little. I do know that when I'm working under someone's umbrella, like a CEO or board of directors in which his/her decisions directly affect me, I can hold them responsible or accountable in some ways. If this means bringing some aspects of their job in question like exorbitant salaries, then so be it.

    I don't think that focusing on the issue of probable overly paid people whose level of stress on the job I don't feel quite ranks with bedside or direct care nurses should be a problem. Maybe someone can verify this.
    Last edit by Mijourney on Jan 7, '02
  11. by   donmurray
    Wild, I am surprised at how many parallels there are over here and over there (and I'm trying not to take sides!) We are talking basic negotiation, which is more subtle than "them and us" Perhaps too, a move to a more enlightened approach all round. The days of confrontation as a first step are behind us. Two, or more, parties set out with differing objectives, and explore whatever common ground they can agree, then they try to resolve whatever is still on the table. Everyone goes in with an agenda. What can we agree on, what can be negotiated / exchanged / bartered, and what can not be given up. Each party has a rough idea what the other wants, and what they may settle for, and they try not to push the other(s) too far. Realism and Pragmatism are in evidence. It is no longer a "battle" the ground rules are clear, One is never let your "opponent" feel totally defeated. In the event of parties breaking the conventions, or not honouring agreements, then of course there must be some kind of sanctions which may be taken, but as a last resort. "Talk softly, but carry a big stick!" F.D.R.
  12. by   Mijourney
    Hi donmurray. You're right that it's better to have a cool head in these situations. I don't know if it's old age or what, but I think my last post here reflected a great deal of frustration. I really do feel, however, it's important to have that conversation with administration if there's concern about some aspect of their work. I don't think that because someone is on the board of directors or is an executive that they should get a reprieve from questioning. I will admit that I've had a few good administrators in my time that really cared about their employees. They worked very hard to work out a balancing act between business and patient care and deservedly earned a good salary for what they did. I guess my last several posts under other threads on the difficult marriage of business and health care is what made me decide that I should reserve my judgement a tiny bit on issues of management and labor. I realize that health care is relatively new to business and vice versa. It's been a hard road and a bitter pill for some of us to swallow. Wouldn't you agree?

    Maybe as more knowledgeable, caring, and concerned nurses, physicians, and other health care practioners get into the upper rungs of management and ownership that things will start to improve. I can only hope.
  13. by   liveintheOR
    What the whole thing comes down to in the end, is substandard care for our patients. We don't have enough staff, or have new or poorly trained staff, lack of basic equipment because our hospital "doesn't have enough money" for these things while paying upper management outrageous amounts in salary. This is the biggest crime in this situation. I believe the gap in the salaries is criminal, but most of us would probably want more qualified help vs. more money if we had to choose how to spend the exec's extra salary. Our patients deserve so much better than this, and in withholding this care under the guise of lack of funds is truly reprehensible. I'm not sure what is to be done about this. The not for profit hospital I work in was posted as making the highest profit margin of any in our state according to the local paper last week. Then---we get a memo that the figures were "inaccurate". This week there is a hiring freeze, no overtime( don't know how they will accomplish that), and no new equipment is to be ordered unless the old equipment is broken. Now we really seem poor (on paper anyway). I know for a fact that our CEO makes $400,000/yr. in a small/medium size hospital.

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