DEBRIDE the SCABS - page 5

by Christina Terranova RN

14,097 Views | 130 Comments

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 Star Tribune... Read More


  1. 0
    the links to make donations are posted in the thread titled UAN NURSES STRIKE.

    now a little Q & A.....

    #1 Q. <<if the SCAB nurses are making 40/hr what is the Hospital paying the agency and how much is it costing them for training and housing?
    >>They can't afford to staff paying this rate and will have to concede to atleast some of the demands placed by the nurses>>

    A. It cost $19 MILLION last year in a hospital in Nyack, NY to force those nurses (NYSNA/UAN) to go on strike & the hospital forced them to stay on strike 151 days - trying to get them to back down or break down. The nurses didnt do either. And in the end, they won every item they struck for... INCLUDING mandatory OT restricitons & safe staffing guidelines. If the hospital wasnt so pig-headed & came to those compromises months earlier, it could have saved a hell of a lot of money that could have been spent on making those improvements AND providing much needed community services. It threw $19 million $$$ to the wind without a blink of an eye. The adminstration didnt care how much it spent in the 6 months it kept its nurses on strike. The board of directors finally took over (6 months after the strike started) & settled with the nurses but is now being investigated for not taking that action sooner. The entire administration was fired & word has it that the CFO now has a big position at the scab agency he gave those millions to. (I wonder how much his bonus was). The hospital is now in a financial mess because those people insisted on trying to break the strike - cost be damned - rather than settle with the nurses. And the board of directors let them. They dont care how long it took & what it cost.

    #2 Q. <<They have to get the #'s of people they need, >>

    A. if they came back to the table & negotiated fairly, they would not have to look for "numbers of people". Their own staff would be there because if they came back to negotiate fairly, there would be no strike. A strike notice is served when the hospital says it will no longer negotiate.
    The whole point of a strike notice is to get them back to the table and AVOID a strike - not to find other people to care for the pts.
    After a strike notice is served, there should not have to be a strike to begin with.

    Look at that one hospital in Minnesota where the nurses voted to accept the contract they were offered. 13 hospitals were negotiating with the MnNA nurses. When the hospitals refused to negotiate the staffing issues, etc, the nurses gave a strike notice. That one hospital of the 13 CAME BACK TO THE TABLE & said ok, we'll address your staffing issues....... & gave an offer on it that the nurses found acceptable... .and there will be no strike there. And so no need to find "numbers of people" THATS how it is supposed to work.
    The other hospitals can do the same. They wont. Theyd rather spend the money paying off strike-breakers. (sorry Charles but it is what it is & they themselves proudly call themselves SCABS on their own website with that title.)

    #3 Q. <<nobody should be looked down upon for providing that help. >>

    A. they are not going in there to help. they are going in there to make money. if they were being paid what those staff RNs on strike had been paid, they wouldnt be there either. They are not being looked down on for "helping the pts". They are being looked down on for helping the hospital try to break the striking nurses because as long as they are there the hospital does not have to face dealing with its own nurses & their issues. And the money being spent on them & taken away to other states could be better spent on improving the conditions the striking nurses are fighting for - which the hospitals say they have no money to improve.

    They are being looked down on because they could give a flying fig about any of this.

    #4. Q. <<Nurses crossing the picket line will not hurt the nurses striking in any way. They are not the adminstrations final answer only a short term solution to problem that is ongoing.>>

    A. See # 3.
    They most certainly do harm the striking nurses - with more far-reaching effect than you could imagine. Nurses who are willing to cross the strike line cause a strike to happen in the first place. If it couldnt get "replacements", the hospital would sit down and negotiate compromises to avoid the logistical nightmare the strike would cause. Nurses who cross a strike line kill the bargaining leverage of the nurses on strike, cause the strike to be longer than needed, cause the hospital to be able to hold out & refuse to compromise, and cause the nurses to have accept less just to get back to work.
    They are not a short term answer to the problem. They exaccerbate the problem.
    In every industry, "Replacements" are called "Strike-breakers" for a reason.

    They are looked down on because, in their quest to make mega-bucks that could otherwise have been spent on the long term solutions for the striking nurses at that facility, they refuse to recognize the harm they DO cause to their own professional colleagues.

    The only scabs that do not hurt striking nurses are the ones who stay home.
  2. 0
    Bassbird and -jt

    Thanks for the links and continued insight on this thread. Nursing is a very diverse group with many varied interests. Some are by definition adversial, staff vs. management. I don't feel any one organization can represent all nurses.
    But we should be united in one area, and thatis care for our patients. The resources and capital are there but the powers that be do not place their priorities on whats best for the patients. That $19,000,000 spent in Nyackcame from someplace. We as nurss have to refocus the priorities back to the patient. If that takes strikes so be it.
  3. 0
    The disadvantages of inquisitiveness about any one issue , propels me to read more and more...
    So for all you that are interested in reading the laws pertaining to the right to work campaigns here is a link that details the laws available for non union and union members during a strike. http://www.nrtw.org/RDA.htm
    In addition I most certainly agree that the enormous amounts of money and energy spent during a strike (ie. the 19 million dollars) could have been converted into meeting the demands of the nurses to begin with.
    Bean counters...The bottom line must be as was stated in the Senate Committee hearing an "investment" or "Re-investment" into the solutions of the betterment of Health care workers. With special attention to "rocking the budget boat"
    and "careeer ladders". These precious resources have been thrown to the proverbial wind, how mathmatically can they support that paying gross amounts of opportunists salaries instead of improving the wages of existing workers, is a sounfd financial decision?
    Short of the potential losses if the facility closed?
    As John Stossel says "Give me a break", I am proud of the Nurses that made the decision to stand up for safer working conditions and adequate compensation, but there is a better way,intstill financial ethics into the corporate CEO's minds.
    This is so apalling , I pray that negotiations are productive soon.
  4. 0
    I hope they walk - otherwise the whole thing will be swept under the rug, the issues chalked up to wanting more money, & soon forgotten.

    Administration has to feel the full efect of its actions. I hope those RNs walk - even if its just for a couple of days.
  5. 1
    Originally posted by Charles S. Smith, RN, MS:
    <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</STRONG>
    Yes, Chas, again you've nailed it. Also folks, I tried to follow that www.SCABS.org link and it went nowhere. Please make this strike about issues and let people make their own individual decisions. These are not easy decisions and just because people do not agree with you does not make them all wrong.
    MizMaverick likes this.
  6. 0
    yes it no longer works for outsiders. Not even the main URL in the article below will let you in. They went underground after all the publicity & pressure from nursing organizations across the country. It is now private But it still exists & you can get to it if you are a registered strike-breaker. The focus on the word used deflects from the activity & the damage it causes. If people want to engage in strike-breaking, they should do so with their eyes-open & understand that they are not doing so in a vaccuum. Their actions have a direct and negative effect on their colleagues & if they are willing to do it anyway, they have to be prepared for the reactions it will invoke. In other words, it comes with the territory.
    The following are from the ANA's newspaper publication The American Nurse 2000:

    "U.S. Nursing Corp. comes under fire

    Strikebreakers prolong labor disputes, endanger patients

    by Cindy Price

    When Martha VanVliet, RN, a U.S. Nursing Corp. strike-replacement nurse working at the Washington Hospital Center (WHC), called the District of Columbia Nurses Association (DCNA/UAN) Oct. 2, she was both angry and worried. Angry because she had been switched from radiology to a medical-surgical unit with which she was unfamiliar. And worried because the hospital was not following supervisory procedures.

    Not licensed in DC, VanVliet had worked under a letter of supervision signed by a hospital employee, a woman she had never met. And when she called the DC Department of Health to inquire about the procedure, the health department called the hospital to let them know she had called. So, fearing reprisals, she quit -- and told her story to the media.

    VanVliet is one of a growing number of former U.S. Nursing Corp. nurses who have gone public with their stories, citing questionable practices and unsafe working conditions.

    Many complaints

    The strike-replacement nurses aren't the only ones complaining. The hospitals that hire them are, as well. In Worcester, MA, three U.S. Nursing Corp. nurses were fired earlier this year by Tenet-owned St. Vincent's Hospital. In the St. Vincent's incidents, the documents released by the state Department of Public Health revealed allegations that two of the replacement nurses had left a surgical patient unattended in a post-operative recovery room while a third nurse gave the wrong baby to a mother for nursing.

    A few months later, Stanford University Medical Center in California fired four RNs supplied by U.S. Nursing during a strike in mid-June. According to documents released by the state, one of the nurses who was fired reportedly provided false credentials. And, the other three replacement nurses who were fired from Stanford apparently did not have appropriate training or skills to work where they were assigned, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

    Patients also are complaining. At Stanford, for example, the Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement (CRONA), which represented the striking Stanford nurses, received numerous complaints regarding U.S. Nursing Corp. from the California Department of Health Services, including letters from patients who claimed to have been harmed.

    Chief among the patient complaints registered following the Stanford strike was a letter, copied to CRONA, from a former Stanford Hospital physician. After surgery at the hospital, he was misdiagnosed with diabetes mellitus, based on blood sugar levels taken while a routine 5% D/NS was being infused, and mistakenly given glyburide and other hypoglycemic agents. He noted that he also received at least one incorrect blood pressure reading, and that the replacement nurse attending him was unable to get blood samples from him and had to be assisted.

    That's not all. In 1992, during a nurses' strike at Summit Medical Center in Oakland, CA, the state Department of Health listed more than 400 instances of nurses working without proper certification, including three who did not have a current RN license. Many of the other nurses cited had unsatisfactory employment histories, while others lacked evidence of physicals, tuberculosis screenings and CPR training.

    In 1994, numerous complaints were received from patients following a 98-day strike at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, NJ, for which U.S. Nursing Corp. nurses were used. A state Department of Health investigation found that one nurse pricked himself with a needle and then inserted it into a patient IV tubing, and another nurse gave two to four times the federal-approved dose of a sedative through an IV device to a patient. Afterward, the state recommended that the hospital be fined for other "improprieties," according to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

    At a 1998 Copley Hospital strike in Vermont, a U.S. Nursing Corp. nurse gave an inappropriate dose of insulin to a patient who afterwards became seriously ill, according to information from the AFT. And another patient admitted to special care was left unattended for an hour or more, the AFT reports.

    ANA Picketing and Protests

    Members of the Colorado Nurses Association (CNA) joined CNA and ANA leaders, including ANA CEO Linda Stierle, MSN, RN, CNAA (far right), in picketing the U.S. Nursing Corp. headquarters in Denver this past September.

    U.S. Nursing Corp. was originally founded 10 years ago as a local Denver-area hospital staffing agency, but with deteriorating working conditions in hospitals, which have prompted increasing numbers of nurses to resort to striking, the company quickly switched to the more lucrative business of staffing hospitals undergoing strikes. The company keeps names of nurses in a database, which it utilizes whenever it is asked to supply replacement nurses to hospitals that are on strike. According to one nurse, the company then flies the replacement nurses in, conceals where they are housed and transports them back and forth to work in vans with blacked-out windows. In one letter to a prospective client, the company says it has served more than 200 health care facilities.

    ANA's concerns about the safety and ethics of U.S. Nursing's practice of providing strikebreakers to hospitals have led to protests. Representatives from the ANA and the Colorado Nurses Association (CNA) have picketed with member nurses twice in the past six months. The first picket was staged to protest U.S. Nursing's supplying of replacement nurses to St. Vincent's Hospital in Worcester, MA, and during a five-month strike earlier this year by New York State Nurses Association members at Nyack Hospital in suburban New York City. The second picket occurred in September after the WHC strike began.

    "U.S. Nursing Corp. is in business chiefly for the purpose of replacing striking nurses," said ANA President Mary E. Foley, MS, RN, during the WHC protest. "That's a horrible business to be in and undermines the nurses at the local level."

    Up to $5,000 per week per nurse

    It is also an expensive business to be in. In the latest strike in DC, the WHC has relied on up to 700 temporary nurses imported from across the nation by U.S. Nursing Corp. at $2,700 to $5,000 per week per nurse.

    The service is expensive, hospital President Michael Covert acknowledged to The Washington Post four weeks into the strike. "You could be talking about a maximum of $500,000 a week in losses," he said. "In terms of the reserves of the institution, that's not what we want to do. It's not just salaries, but housing and travel."

    And the hospital further used the imported nurses as an excuse to reduce its wage package offer to 13 percent, down from an original 16.5 percent proposal.

    "What the hospital center is spending on U.S. nursing replacements, it could be spending on hiring additional staff to relieve the problem of mandatory overtime and on raising DCNA nurses' salaries, and then some," said DCNA Economic and General Welfare President Gwen Johnson, RN. "For us, this strike has never been about money. It has been about patient safety and unsafe working conditions. But by hiring replacements and dragging things out, the hospital has created very serious money problems for itself problems that could have easily been avoided if it had simply stuck to bargaining."

    Cindy Price is a senior public relations specialist at the ANA.

    "Scab justifications refuted
    by K.Walters

    As you educate people about the issue of labor scabs, it is important that you not mince words if you want to communicate the hatred nurses have for such people. Scabs -- as well as professional strike-breaking lawyers, advisers and propagandists -- are part of the employer's strategy to break the will of nurses and eventually to break their union. They strive to create fear and to crush nurses financially, emotionally and spiritually so that they will have no choice but to capitulate to employer demands. In the meantime, nurses have mortgages to pay and children to feed.

    A scab is like the corrupt cop who takes money because "everyone else is doing it" and he has "a family to support"; the traitor to his country who sells out his own people because he "felt" that if he didn't do it, someone else would, and besides, he has "a family to support"; or the POW who tells the enemy how to ambush his buddies -- because he is under stress and because he has "a right to live, too." There should be a minimum expectation of personal character and integrity for a person to be called a professional or even to earn respect as a human being. A scab has neither.

    I encourage you to continue to educate us on labor issues, but part of this education should be to communicate unequivocally the profound loathing unionized professionals have toward people who would be scabs...."

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Much thought and discussion went into our decision to use the term "scab" in our September/October issue. In the end, we decided that it was an appropriate term, given that many strikebreakers have adopted it to describe themselves. This is evidenced by www.parishputer.com/scab/index2.htm, a website for strikebreaking nurses that has "scab.org" as the title on its home page........." http://www.ana.org/tan/
  7. 0
    Great stuff -jt. Thanks for posting it.
  8. 0
    Originally posted by Chellyse66:
    <STRONG>Helen as I have said before you have a way with words. After reading this post earlier today and the comments that have been brought up regarding the term scab... First let me state I was using sarcasm to a point but I took the time to research the term and place it in context for myself.I learnde alot, I would like to share some of it here.
    Charles, I understand fundamental rights, and respect. Therefore after researching I have to defend the argument that scab is precisely utilized for the purpose of degrading another individual (Do I believe that someone walking the line has no right to use that terminology, no I do not )
    The word scab:
    Scab in the `strike-breaker' sense is directly related to scab `crust which forms over a wound.' The word is descended from an Old English source with influence from a Scandinavian source. The Old English word was sceabb `scab' (source of shab, a dialectal form of sceabb. Shab survives in English in the word shabby). There was also a Norse relative skabbr `scab.' Both the Old English and the Norse words come from the Proto-Germanic *skab- `scratch, shave' (source also of English shave). The form scab entered English in about 1275 with the meaning `skin disease characterized by pustules or scales.' By the late 14th century it had acquired the meaning `crust which forms over a wound.' The word was likely reinforced by Latin scabies `scab, itch,' from scabere `to scratch.' Interestingly, the Latin word and Proto-Germanic root come from the same Indo-Eurpean root.

    The `strike-breaker' sense first arose in the early 19th century, and prior to that it referred to a person who refused to join a trade union. These meanings arose from an early 16th century meaning of `despicable person.'

    With that said, do I believe in the violence associated with the term or the violence perpetrated on anyone either side of the equation Absolutely not.
    It is obvious the term began it's usage for people who made the decision to cross the line, genarally in the history of the word for Less monies. The wrod is rich in history of this country and others, laborers that went on strike and laborers that for lack of food and shelter themselves went to work for less money because in fact it provided some. I also have read about the horrid violence and intimidation faced by these workers in that time frame (and in fact still today)
    Do I agree with posting scab lists, I am divided...Difficult to say the least, again I continue to come back to the context.
    Do I believe that each one of these Nurses coming in for replacement are doing it because of fear of food, shelter and water? No. I believe they do have the right to make the decision but be honest about the reason, and I am not inclined to defend or respect another individual for "cashing in" so to speak because the chance exists. Everyone does have a right to there own choices but along with those choices they have to take responsibility and part of that would be that other people who also have the same rights may not respect or agree with thier decisions.
    I think I will use the term "opportunist" from here on out, because in my right for an opinion, that is what I see as the preponderance of these Nurses that are making the decision.
    Now with my long wind and history lesson completed, I appreciate everyone's opinions on this board even the negative one's because it challenges me to learn, digest,become introspect and hear views I otherwise may never have become exposed to.
    For me personally crossing the line would have to be subject to my own self or families welfare and wellbeing , with regard to life and limb not a monetary incentive for materialistic non essential ,non "life breathing" intent.</STRONG>
    Thanx Chellsye for the historical context. It is very important for others to know about the labels used and to understand them fully before bandying them about. Helen, MollyJ and you have succinctly put what choice should mean to others. Our choices in life are not mutually exclusive of other choices and all carry significant responsibility. The strike/strike line crossing issue is neither right nor wrong, though each decision carries a huge moral burden and will ultimately exact a high social cost. As long as we understand the burden and the costs, we can agree to disagree with one another and at the end of the day, still come together as a committed team to get the patients cared for.

    regards
    chas
  9. 0
    With all due consideration for the opinions posted here, I remain firm in my stand, and that of others, to refer to call those that choose to break a union line a SCAB.

    In reference to talk of choices, I say CHOOSE not to belong to a union, CHOOSE to watch your patients suffer helplessly, CHOOSE to let your license be ripped from your hands due to poor workplace conditions, CHOOSE to risk civil or criminal prosecution due to the unsafe staffing conditions, CHOOSE to accept less pay for your professional time-if you like. It is your choice.

    Those of us that CHOOSE otherwise, CHOOSE to stand up, CHOOSE speak out, and CHOOSE to fight back do so. Those if us that CHOOSE collective bargaining to facilitate meeting the standards of practice in our hostile workplaces follow the federal laws of the NLRA, and make every attempt to bargain in good faith. If management refuses, we then CHOOSE, by democratic membership majority vote, to strike.

    We then CHOOSE to risk our livelihoods, jobs, families, health [by losing health insurance] economics, etc.-by standing out on the street in the name of what we feel is fair and right for our patients, and our professions. Not for the moment, but for the long run. The future.

    CHOOSE to walk the other way, and not join in, and I say Gods speed to you.
    CHOOSE to walk over the line and betray and disgrace our hard efforts, and then I call you SCAB.

    This fight is not for the weak at heart. A strike vote is not an invitation for tea and cookies. It is rough, it is harsh, and when my colleagues, east west or in between feel the need to do so, I respect their judgment, their efforts, and will stand by them.

    Name calling? No. It is real and frankly a fair and actually kind term for how I and many others actually regard SCABS.

    Debride the scabs, and let management bargain in good faith with their own nurses.

    My opinion, of course,of which I am most fully entitled to.
  10. 0
    first off the site did NOT go underground, it is: www.scab.org, no s on the end of scab. Second of all I live in a free country, and I have the Right..no more like a responsibility to think for myself and chose to strike or work, I chose to work and under no circumstances does that give you the right to deride me or accuse me of undermining you. This is the USA, a democratic nation, not a socialist nation and I have my rights also.
    www.scab.org

    [ June 01, 2001: Message edited by: Dplear ]


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