DEBRIDE the SCABS - page 3

Replacement nurses arrive to prepare for possible strike Alternately titled.... SCABS-R-US on the move...... Replacement nurses arrive to prepare for possible strike Maura Lerner ... Read More

  1. by   -jt
    <They can't afford to staff paying this rate and will have to concede to at least SOME of the demands placed by the nurses, ...
    to keep their doors open>

    And thats a perfect example of how strike-breaking nurses hurt the striking nurses. Because if there were no strike-breaking nurses willing to cross another nurses strike line, the hospital would HAVE to sit down & compromise on ALL the demands placed by the nurses - not just some - to avoid the strike. The alternative would be to close their doors & that is incentive enough to bring them back to the negotiating table and address EVERY issue - not just SOME. Having scabs available eliminates this threat from the equation, thereby undercutting the nurses bargaining leverage, and enabling the administration to allow a strike to happen. Thats one way that scabs hurt the striking nurses.

    If the two strike issues for the nurses are, say, safe staffing & elimination of abusive practices like forced overtime & there are no scabs available, the hospital would be forced to sit down & address BOTH issues to a settlement before the strike start date or have a strike & shut down operations. Of course they would choose to address BOTH issues & reach a settlement during the 10 day notice before the start date & there would be no strike at all. It used to happen like that all the time.
    Now we have "crisis staffing" agencies from Colorado that interfere with that process.

    If the hospital can get enough scabs so it doesnt have to worry about shutting down services, they REFUSE to discuss either of the strike issues, force the nurses to strike, & continue to refuse to discuss either issue for weeks or months, hoping that the nurses would get tired, beaten down, financially starved & give in.

    With scabs helping it, the administration could stall as long as it wants, continue the strike going for as long as it wants, & offer just bits & pieces of both issues or address only one because it doesnt care - it has "replacements" keeping the place a float. They can write off the expense.
    Scabs help the hospital prolong the strike & thats another way they hurt the striking nurses.

    Strike-breaker nurses help the hospital to avoid having to make compromises & help it to meet less of the striking nurses demands than it would have if there were no scabs there at all. (as you said "concede to at least SOME of the demands" - instead of ALL the demands) Scabs help the hospital force the nurses to accept less than what they could have gotten (financially or in workplace improvements)
    if the alternative was for the hosptial to either raise the bar or close the doors.
    So they undermine the striking nurses bargaining power and thats another way scabs hurt striking nurses.

    Look at it like this:
    No scabs available - nurses will strike unless hospital agrees to staffing ratios & eliminates mandatory ot, unfreezes vacant RN positions & actively recruits RNs to meet the staffing ratios. NO SCABS available - hospital either negotiates ALL these issues or the nurses walk. Hospital says OK OK lets discuss this. And negotiates agreements to ratios & all the rest.

    Scabs readily available - same scenario as above - hospital says we arent giving you that. We arent talking about it any more. Strike if you dont want what we're giving you.
    Nurses strike - scabs come in.
    5 weeks or 6 months later - whenever THEY choose, administration says ok we'll talk about LIMITING your Mandatory OT - not eliminating it - & we arent hiring anymore RNs so you can forget about the staffing ratios.
    They can do this because they have nothing to worry about - they have "replacements" - costly but its a write-off - so no problem.

    See????? How much plainer can it be?
    Scabs put the ball in the hospitals court & thats another way they hurt the striking nurses.

    The worst part is that they refuse to understand any of this & dont care about any of it - just so they get their free travel to OT opportunities.
  2. by   egmillard
    Remember the many days, that you are just too damn busy to go to the bathroom, take a break, or have a drink. That is what we are fighting for, the unsafe staffing, the poor pay. The patients are now more acute, there are now more things to be done, the patients have high expctations of the service we provide, and we have to live up to that, as professionals it is our job to provide excellent care. How care we do that when we are understaffed. If we were more fairly paid, then more people would join the nursing profession, then there would be someone to care for us when we grow old. I am fed up of not being able to provide proper care because there is too much to do in the time allowed. I try to do the best I can, but sometimes I dont take a break so I can get things done. Am I wrong to think that we work hard, that we deserve a pay rise, and that maybe sometimes it would be nice to not be short staffed. One good thing that is coming from the strike, is that people are trying to pick up extra shifts, so we arnt as short staffed as we usually are. The management say that if all the nurses worked full time, then there wouldnt be a shortage. Well I was so fed up sleeping during my day off, when I worked day/nights full time, because I had the work a day shift the following day, that I changed to 0.8. I now make more money working 4 days a week and picking up double shifts. Maybe the management should give some incentive to working full time, instead of sleeping. I hope we strike, I know that I am going a 5.30Am to picket, If they dont listen to the nurses, why dont they listen to the patients,
  3. by   -jt
    <<offer an incentive for working full time>>

    Excellent idea...... propose starting with permanent shifts & eliminate that rotating shift business. Not even cops do that anymore here.

    offer flex time & self scheduling (all on one shift!)

    Improve full time benefits

    Increase the pension...etc etc etc


    If they want people to work FT, they have to make it worth their while.
  4. by   MollyJ
    This whole discussion line personifies why nurses took so long to turn to unions as a way to handle their problems. I remember, as a kid, hearing horror stories from the local factory about how those non-union folks were treated ("swirlies", harassment, threats, beatings) and my first thought of unions was "Ugh!". It took me a long time to pay money to ANA because they function as a nursing union and my connotation of unions was so negative. So here we have a whole thread devoted to name-calling of people who decide to cross a union picket line. Deja vu.

    Please do not think that I believe this to be a simple issue with a right or a wrong. Many of you will recognize from my previous posts that I am not a current bedside nurse. I cannot say whether I would cross a picket line right now if I were hospital based. The PAIN that bedside nurses experience in watching their goal of good care get subverted by profit margins is not joke and any reader of this bb knows that, as bad as things have "always" been, they are far worse now. Nurses, I believe, are caught in the death throes of a dying system.

    I have always believed that the bottom line question for me if I had to decide to cross a picket line would be, "Are my patients better off with me or without me?" Depending on HOW BAD things are, the answer could well be "without me." Something has to happen where folks put their foot down. BUT that watermark will set at a different place for all of us, but what I hear from this board, it has been reached for many and if I were in their shoes, it may well be reached for me.

    That said, I don't think I could name-call, harass or second guess the motives of a nurse for whom the water mark has not been reached. It would take quite a bit more than _money_ for me to go into a hospital that is operating in crisis mode and try to give high quality care consistent with this new-to-me institution's policies. Given options, I might choose a nice root canal instead of that experience.

    There will be a tomorrow after the stikes. Let us respect each other's position sufficiently so that we can join hands and work together on the morrow.
  5. by   -jt
    <<So here we have a whole thread devoted to name-calling of people who decide to cross a union picket line. Deja vu. >>

    Just to clarify, the use of the term "scab" is not name calling. It is a noun & an accepted form in the dictionary referring to workers who cross a strike line. And, just as the ANA has pointed out when they use the term in their publications and editorials, they are merely using the same term by which "replacement" nurses refer to themselves on their own website www.SCABS.org.
    (see editor's note The American Nurse 2001 Nov/Dec)

    You have some very valid comments & I can see someone feeling like that about their own hospital in their own community but there is no denying the truth that out-of-state nurses are travelling to strikes in other states simply to make money & are paying no attention to how their presence damages the entire situation.

    press release:

    "The ANA certainly understands and empathizes with the anger and sadness that nurses, particularly those who have made the difficult decision to go on strike, feel over the issue of strikebreakers. The ANA shares their concerns about this type of advertising and the damage that strike-breaking nurses and the companies that engage in strike-breaking can do to the goals of nurses who are on strike......

    ANA strongly condemns companies that participate in these
    practices and has picketed such firms in the past. ANA knows that strike-breaking endangers patients, undermines nurses and delays strike resolutions......." httP://www.ana.org
  6. by   MollyJ
    Hi JT, I appreciate your dignified reply and really disagree with nothing you have written EXCEPT that "scabs" is derogatory name calling and it isn't going to help our future. I can find, in the dictionary a load of nicknames that might describe certain segments of the society we deal with every day, but we would never use those terms in our charting or in other professional discourse.

    And I am certainly not saying we ought not strike. And I certainly agree that at a certain point, a strike must happen but I would reserve the right of each individual to determine when that happens for them. Notice the language of ANA in the posts you quoted. It was always very professional and didn't use the "S" word.

    We can most eloquently discuss our problems if we do not resort to name calling even if those that we disagree with do so.

    Maybe another way to look at this is that we maintain solidarity and avoid violence (even verbal violence) and volatile emotions the best if we avoid name calling. This is important to me and I think it will be to others.

    Thanks for your willingness to hear this.

    [ May 31, 2001: Message edited by: MollyJ ]
  7. by   willie2001
    Why Am I not seeing anything regarding this strike on the national new?? Seems like a nursing strike of this magnitude deserves some serious coverage.
  8. by   -jt
    The Associated Press has been writing a lot on it. Maybe your local papers dont think its important enough to run. You might want to send them a note & ask why they havent picked up the AP articles on it. Enlighten them.
    (see the thread titled Strike Makes the News)
  9. by   -jt
    PIONEER PRESS :

    A makeshift sign is posted on the door of the neurology unit at United Hospital in St. Paul, explaining that patients have been moved to other areas in the hospital.

    Sue Maile, a registered nurse at Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis, works on a sign that will be used should a strike occur. Maile, who has worked at Phillips since it opened about 14 years ago, is an operating room nurse. The sign she is making at the Minnesota Nurses Association office in St. Paul, will say "Scabs: Shop Until You Drop," referring to reports that replacement nurses will receive spending money to use at the Mall of America.

    Can replacements fill strikers' shoes?

    As a nursing strike looms in the Twin Cities, hospital officials have stood by their claims that services won't falter. But some experts in the health care field said Wednesday that math and common sense dictate otherwise.

    The affected hospitals have said they plan to replace the 7,800 striking nurses with 4,000 replacements, most from out of state. By Wednesday, they had nearly 3,000. And local union members fear their replacements won't be familiar enough with hospital policies and procedures to properly care for the patients.

    Elayne Best recalled working with replacement nurses during a 1989 strike in Morris, Minn.

    "There was very high tension. When they came in they had little or no orientation," Best said.

    Pauline Hendrickson, who has been a nurse for 38 years, echoed Best's comments.

    "Our techs are going to end up pulling double duty," she said.

    "The simplest way to explain it is, it takes a lot of people to do a lot of work. So if you've got fewer people, you can do less work," said Vernon Weckworth, a professor of health care administration at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.

    If agreements can't be reached between registered nurses represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association (UAN) and a dozen local hospitals, the union plans to strike beginning at 5:30 a.m. Friday.

    Firms that recruit replacement workers have been trying to round up nurses for several weeks.

    Perhaps the largest of them, Denver-based U.S. Nursing Corp., is offering compensation packages that actually make nursing financially attractive: salaries of up to $5,000 a week, free travel here, a $500 "arrival bonus" for just showing up, $300 a week shopping money, free lodging, free transportation to and from the hospital, free Internet access and a concierge service, according to its Web site.

    The firm, which did not respond to repeated requests for an interview, also promised to pay the nurses' Minnesota licensing fee at $100 a pop.

    All that raises the question: "If you're going to pay that kind of money, why don't you pay your own nurses that?" asked Jo Stone, an official with Nursefinders, a nurse recruiting company in Fort Worth, Texas, that isn't involved in finding nurses for this strike.

    "It sounds real good that they're going to pay those wonderful salaries and they're going to give them $300 a week to spend at the Mall of America," Stone said. "My question would be, where is that money coming from?"

    It's coming from the hospitals and comes from the pockets of the patients and insurance companies, said Shireen Gandhi-Kozel, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Hospital and Healthcare Partnership.

    It's cheaper for the hospitals to pay whopping salaries and bonuses to strike-breaking nurses than to meet the union's demand for a 30 to 45 percent increase in wage and benefits over three years, said Gandhi-Kozel.

    Nurse-recruiting firms abound because nurses' strikes aren't uncommon. But the size of this one would be, said Suzanne DeMass Martin, a spokeswoman for the United American Nurses, the labor arm of the American Nurses Association, the country's largest nursing group.

    While many of the nation's hospitals are reporting a shortage of available registered nurses, Martin said the shortage is a "manufactured" one. "The RNs ARE out there," she said. "But the working conditions are so abysmal that many of the RNs are not wanting to work or stay in the hospitals."

    Indeed, Allina Hospitals & Clinics spokeswoman Maureen Schriner said the majority of their system's nurses work part time. With the replacements, she said, they intend to have full staffing in their emergency rooms, obstetrics units, intensive care units and behavioral health facilities, and about 75 percent staffing in the other areas.

    Although declining to give specific numbers, Allina has been busy training replacement nurses in its hospitals' policies and procedures, said Barb Knudtson, director of Allina's Education Research Department.

    "We'll be putting them through the same orientation we provide other nurses," she said.

    But Stone of Nursefinders -- a nurse herself for 20 years -- said it isn't always that simple.

    "Could you plunk any nurse down in a hospital and expect them to work like an experienced person? No," she said. "But there are some basic skills there that an experienced nurse can know. We may not know where the linen is, but we know what kind of tube to put the blood in when you're drawing blood."
    http://www.pioneerplanet.com/news/mtc_docs/59068.htm
  10. by   RNPD
    Scabs betray nursing profession and patients

    By Julie Semente, RN

    Many nurses across the country have secured protections for themselves and their patients by making the difficult and courageous decision to strike. Their victories have been victories for us all, for they put hospitals nationwide on notice that unsafe workplace and unfair labor practices are unacceptable.

    That victory is bittersweet, however, because many other nurses have been thwarted in their attempts to secure similar protections by strikebreaking nurses. These "SCABS" (caps mine) sweep into a hospital during a strike and take away from the nurses the one bargaining tool that could force hospital administrators to negotiate fairly.

    What most scab nurses don't see is that their very existence as strikebreakers is a detriment to the entire nursing profession. In an attempt to justify their actions, some have said, "The first set of nurses initiated the strike -- the second set of nurses is taking care of patients while the first set is choosing, for its own selfish reasons, to strike." .........


    From the ANA website-"The American Nurse", Sept/Oct 2000. To see the rest of the article go to:
    http://www.ana.org/tan/sepoct00/bu/asiseeit_v1.htm


    So you see, the ANA not only condemns the scabs but condones the use of the word. If the scabs themselves are proud of the word and use it to name their website, how can it be considered derogatory? (Of course if you heard my tone of voice when I use the word, you would know that I MEAN it in a derogatory way).
  11. by   Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
    Originally posted by RNPD:
    <STRONG>Scabs betray nursing profession and patients

    By Julie Semente, RN

    Many nurses across the country have secured protections for themselves and their patients by making the difficult and courageous decision to strike. Their victories have been victories for us all, for they put hospitals nationwide on notice that unsafe workplace and unfair labor practices are unacceptable.

    That victory is bittersweet, however, because many other nurses have been thwarted in their attempts to secure similar protections by strikebreaking nurses. These "SCABS" (caps mine) sweep into a hospital during a strike and take away from the nurses the one bargaining tool that could force hospital administrators to negotiate fairly.

    What most scab nurses don't see is that their very existence as strikebreakers is a detriment to the entire nursing profession. In an attempt to justify their actions, some have said, "The first set of nurses initiated the strike -- the second set of nurses is taking care of patients while the first set is choosing, for its own selfish reasons, to strike." .........


    From the ANA website-"The American Nurse", Sept/Oct 2000. To see the rest of the article go to:
    http://www.ana.org/tan/sepoct00/bu/asiseeit_v1.htm


    So you see, the ANA not only condemns the scabs but condones the use of the word. If the scabs themselves are proud of the word and use it to name their website, how can it be considered derogatory? (Of course if you heard my tone of voice when I use the word, you would know that I MEAN it in a derogatory way).</STRONG>
    As a member of ANA, I do not appreciate the organization's attempt to label anyone. The term scab is derisive, devisive and stems from the blue collar labor movement early in the century and was picked up by RNs who had representation outside of the nursing organization. If ANA wants to represent us all, it had better come into the 21st centruy and realize that everyone has choices in this life, including membership in ANA. Mary Foley is a union activist and always has been, even when she was president of the NSNA in the early 70s when I knew her. I question her leadership ability to lead all nurses and to bring cohesiveness to a divided house. I shall inform her of this same comment. Where is you ability to recognize individual freedom and choice in all of this?

    chas
  12. by   kjmta57
    we all have certain freedoms but when it underminds the freedom of the people that at a time need it the most your patients I disagree with scabs.the nurses are doing the only thing left to make administration and the public come to their senses about changes that are long overdue in the health care.they tried sitting down and talking that did not work.your patients pay for and deserve the right care.a angry tired overworked nurse can not give that.what the scabs do is undermine the ability for the nurses to make a change and therefore in the long run the patients are the ones going to be paying for it.I would rather be a patient and know I would have to suffer a couple of days then years down the line due to money that a few greedy nurses want.
  13. by   rncountry
    I think one of the things we have to realize is that approximately 10% of healthcare workers are unionized, at least from what I have been able to see from the research I have looked at. Out of that 10% how many are nurses I wonder? I cannot help but think how the issues of unionization also help to divide the profession. I cannot say that I am pro union, nor anti union. Only that I note that when it comes to this issue nurses divide among themselves yet again. Bitter and nasty comments are said on each side again. I look at the ANA organization and know that half of the states agreed to having labor representation, the other half have work place advocacy because they refuse to act as bargaining units. Some feel it is professional to belong to unions others do not. Some union facilities are good facilities, some union facilities are not. How many years do you think it will take to effectively union organize all the healthcare facilities in this country? Why can we not be able to have an organization that is able to unite nurses without so many divisive issues? And I mean all nurses, not just RNs, why can we not have LPNs join? With the recent supreme court hearing does that not leave out RNs that work in LTC? or do they not matter since only about 8% of RNs are in LTC? I fail to understand how calling each other names, working for only a small percentage of nurses and dividing among ourselves will ever gain us anything. Would I cross a picket line? No. That has a much to do with having grown up in a heavily unionized state with relatives that are UAW members, including my husband, as it does anything else. I do tend to agree it does nothing but prolong a strike, and when that happens EVERYONE loses. However that said, I also believe that the decision to cross or not has to be a highly personnel one. And I also believe that what is needed is a way of thinking that allows all nurses to participate in an organization that is vocal about the issues, educates the public and not just our own profession, and one that works to strengthen the profession rather than dividing it. I am not knocking the ANA, ok Julie? I am however pointing out that I believe that the profession would do better if we stopped using models for older times when things were different than they are now, and created a model that is refreshingly new seeking as its primary goal to unite all nurses into a powerful voice we all know we should be. One that seeks to protect and serve the bedside caregiver on which the healthcare system rests. I wish much luck to the nurses who are preparing to strike, I do not envy them. I do not believe that nurses crossing the picket line are doing a service to themselves nor to their profession, but neither do I believe it serves any purpose to unity to become so angry and bitter. I had a wonderful teacher in high school that once told me that the minute you put someone on the defensive when arguing with them or trying to prove your point,they quit listening. Sometimes that is a difficult thing not to do when the issue is so emotionally charged. I know it is for me. I just wish that as a profession we could try building bridges rather than throwing bombs.

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