Leaving before finishing

  1. I'm not a nurse, but work in a hospital so I hope that this is relevant enough to warrant your responses.

    I work in the evening in a nutrition department at a hospital as a non-exempt union employee. One of my assignments is to work in the dishroom. Almost every time I work in the dishroom there are too many dishes to clean in our four hour shift.

    My supervisor seems to think employees are required to stay after the shift ends if there are still duties to be done. It's not uncommon to stay 45 minutes to one hour later than scheduled. In fact, it is almost unheard of to leave at the scheduled end time.

    My union steward advised some other employees to simply walk out at the end of their shift if there is still work that needs to be done. Her thought is, our shift is over and we are not required to stay any longer than the scheduled shift. The union contract supposedly has us covered. I've searched the contract to no avail in finding this clause.

    My supervisor says that if we leave with unfinished work there will be consequences related to job performance issues, which could ultimately lead to us being fired.

    My thought is, I'm all for helping out and finishing my work, but I believe the issue is larger than staying late to wash some dishes-- It is a staffing issue. I'm working later than I'm supposed to almost every shift and my supervisor told me that if I continue to stay late and not finish my work in the allotted time period, this will also be a job performance issue. I seemed screwed both ways!

    On a similar topic, I'd like to know what you guys think about this... employees arriving at work and working 30 to 45 minutes before their scheduled start time. Not clocked-in, not being paid. I would guess that 90 percent of catering associates (staff who prepare and deliver food trays to patients) arrive at work 30 to 45 minutes early so they aren't late in delivering trays to the floors. The supervisors know about this, yet say nothing. It's obvious we need more time to prepare before delivering trays, but the supervisors have made no changes in the year I've been there. I've also mentioned more than once to management that we need more time, their response: work faster.

    I'd like to leave this job but the pay is good and four hour shifts are hard to come by. My next step is to ask my union steward for clarification, but in the mean time, what are your thoughts?
  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   ChevRN
    When I was going to school before becoming a nurse, I worked in the dietary department of a nursing home. My duties mainly consisted of the tray line, getting the residents' meal trays together in assembly line fashion. Toward the end of the shift, two of the dietary aides (usually my duty) consisted of washing the trays and dishes.
    Staffing was okay, but some workers were faster than others with washing the dishes. When slower dishwashers (dietary aides) would work, then sometimes we would leave 15 minutes late. I was not a union employee, but I would address the issue with the union steward. If there is a staffing issue, then you apparently don't have the proper resources to do your job, and it would be unfair to you to be given a bad performance review, if in fact, you are finishing late due to being short staffed.
  4. by   canoehead
    If you are working you should be being paid. That would be my only issue, and your state labor board and union should back you up on that.
  5. by   nursin09
    You need to be getting paid for your extra hours and the labor union must have something to say about forced post-shift hours. It would be unusual for that to not be included in the contract.

    Maybe it would be helpful to have a sit down with the boss and explain your concerns once you know specifically what the contract says. Then, I would write a "thank you" for your time letter to your boss that reiterates your concerns so you have written documentation of the conversation.

    Don't give up. Get paid, get more help, or start applying for jobs so in the mean time you can find one with equal or better pay if your problems aren't resolved.
  6. by   Bella36RN
    If the work is something that I started...like admitting a patient or something of that nature then i think that it is my duty to finish it. i never leave unless i know that my stuff was done. I have stayed two hours passed my time to go to finish stuff that was unfinished.
  7. by   estherojin
    If you are a non-salary worker, you should definitely get paid for every hour you work. If there is a consistent use of overtime for your department per pay period, i think that might warrant HR to evaluate the need for additional staff. However, if you're not on the clock while working, you won't get credit for time worked and administration will never know they have a staffing issue.
  8. by   Asia53
    I belonged to a Union for 25 years. Proper protocol for your concern:

    1. Talk to your union steward. Find that clause in the contract, the steward should help you do this.

    2. Schedule a meeting with your supervisor with the union steward, and talk about your concern, showing the supervisor the clause in the contract.

    3. If there is no satisfaction at the meeting, then your options are: forget about it, or grevience.

    You not supposed to be compelled to violate your union contract, also, you can't refuse to do work, unless it's unsafe. If you are forced to stay, you need to do the work under protest, and register your protest each time with the union steward.

    I've met enough union members from other unions, the protocol seems to be universal.

    Good luck!