Oregon Nurses Vote In Favor Of Strike

  1. Nurses at OHSU give OK to strike

    11/30/01

    JOE ROJAS-BURKE
    http://www.oregonlive.com/printer/pr...9504326110.xml

    Nurses at Oregon Health & Science University have voted overwhelmingly in favor of going on strike next month, the nurses' union said Thursday.

    About 83 percent of the 1,100 nurses who cast ballots this week voted to reject the medical center's contract offer. The union, the Oregon Nurses Association, represents 1,500 nurses at OHSU. The vote allows the nurses to walk out if an agreement isn't reached by Dec. 17.

    Union leaders and hospital administrators have agreed to meet with a mediator today. But after five months of bargaining and three previous mediation sessions, the two sides remain millions of dollars apart on wages and benefits. On Thursday, nurses expressed little willingness to budge from their proposal for a nearly 30 percent increase in wages over the next two years.

    "At 7:30 a.m. on Dec. 17, the nurses will walk out the door unless we have reached an agreement," said Kathleen Sheridan, negotiator for the Oregon Nurses Association.

    OHSU also held fast to its position.

    "We believe that it is a fair offer and more generous when you consider wages and benefits than what you could find in the community," said Bonnie Driggers, OHSU nursing director.

    If the nurses walk, OHSU has lined up enough replacement nurses through a staffing agency to maintain hospital admissions at full levels, Driggers said.

    Others doubted the medical center could avoid diverting some patients to other hospitals and postponing some elective procedures.

    "OHSU is not going to be able to maintain it's bed level," said Mark Herrmann of Clinical Options, an employment agency that provides nursing staff to hospitals.

    A strike could easily drain millions from OHSU's budget. Stanford University said its hospitals lost $30 million because of a 52-day strike by its 1,700 hospital nurses last year. Charges included the hiring and housing of highly paid replacement nurses, and the loss of patients to other hospitals. Washington Hospital Center in the District of Columbia said strike-related losses climbed to $500,000 a week during a 41-day walkout last year by 1,000 registered nurses.

    Registered nurses haven't gone on strike at an Oregon hospital since 1990, when an Oregon Nurses Association bargaining unit picketed Medford's Rogue Valley Medical Center for five weeks.

    Nurses at OHSU contend they are underpaid compared with their counterparts at other Portland hospitals and that the gap has made it difficult for the university hospitals to keep enough nurses on staff.

    "Nurses are leaving and getting paid better wages elsewhere," said Michelle Jackson, a pediatric intensive care nurse.

    Driggers said OHSU has always kept adequate staffing levels.

    The nurses want a 14 percent pay increase this year, and a 14 percent increase next year. The nurses say that much is needed to attract and keep enough qualified caregivers to meet patient needs.

    OHSU has offered to boost wages 5.5 percent this year and next. Wages for nurses with a bachelor of science degree would start at $19.54 an hour and top out at $28.35 an hour.

    The highest-paying hospitals in Oregon start nurses around $21 to $22 an hour and step up to more than $30 an hour. But OHSU said its wage offer would put a majority of its nursing staff above average for registered nurses in the Portland area.

    But nurses say rising health benefit costs will amount to a 7 percent cut in their pay. OHSU says nurses can avoid paying more by choosing one of the lower-cost health plans the university offers.

    By OHSU's calculations, the nurses' contract proposal would cost $26.2 million, which is about $16.2 million more than the university is prepared to spend.

    Sheridan, the union negotiator, said OHSU earned enough profit this year to meet the nurses' request. "OHSU's economy is booming," she said.

    Driggers said the university posted healthy net earnings for the first time in four years: $38 million. But she said the recession will undermine future earnings.

    "We can expect that there will be a rise in the uninsured," she said. "We need to make sure we have the economic resources to weather that storm."

    ----------------------------------------
    Heavy demand complicates talks on Oregon nurses contract

    Unprecedented demand for nurses is nothing new. But many nurses find that they can earn up to twice as much hourly doing temporary moonlighting jobs as they can on their regular jobs, complicating contract talks.

    The Oregonian, Nov. 28, 2001
    http://www.oregonlive.com/business/o...1202839861.xml
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Dec 4, '01
    •  
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   -jt
    competetive wages:

    "If Not Now, When?"

    OHSU RNs Vote to Strike
    11/30/01

    The 1,500 Oregon Nurses Association (UAN) registered nurses at the Oregon Health Sciences University voted on Nov. 29 to authorize a strike that could begin as soon as Dec. 17. At issue are fair wages and an increased RN responsibility for insurance premiums. For more information, go to
    ONA - Contract Negotiation at OHSU
    http://www.OregonRn.org
    Last edit by -jt on Dec 8, '01
  4. by   NRSKarenRN
    12/06/01
    JOE ROJAS-BURKE

    http://www.oregonlive.com/business/o...3493987173.xml

    The nurses' union at Oregon Health & Science University snubbed the medical center's latest contract offer Wednesday, after serving legal notice that it will go on strike Dec. 17.

    The two sides still could avoid a walkout. But they haven't scheduled further mediation sessions after getting nowhere during an all-day meeting Friday. Both sides gave unflinching ultimatums Wednesday.

    OHSU -- the state's busiest hospital and home of its only medical school -- offered to raise wages 6 percent this year, followed by another 6 percent raise next year. The raises would amount to an increase of about 1 percent over its previous two-year contract offer. Administrators called it their "last, best offer" and gave the nurses a deadline of Dec. 12 to accept it.

    The Oregon Nurses Association, which represents the 1,500 registered nurses at OHSU, said the nurses will strike unless they get their wage demand -- nearly double what the Portland medical center has offered.

    In Friday's mediation, the nurses said they would accept an 11 percent wage increase, followed by a 10 percent raise in the second year of the contract -- if OHSU agreed to pick up more of the costs of health coverage. The nurses had previously asked for two 14 percent increases.

    Nurses at OHSU contend they are underpaid compared with their counterparts at other Portland hospitals and say the disparity thwarts the university hospitals from keeping enough nurses.

    The nurses make about $18 to $28 an hour. The highest-paying hospitals in Oregon start nurses around $21 to $22 an hour and step up their pay to more than $30 an hour. OHSU officials say such comparisons don't take into account the unusually large contribution OHSU makes to employee retirement plans: 12 percent of wages. With that and health benefits, OHSU said, its offer would put its compensation above average for registered nurses in Portland.

    Nurses maintain that rising health insurance costs will amount to a 7 percent reduction in pay for the average nurse at OHSU. Kathleen Sheridan, a negotiator for the Oregon Nurses Association, said the negotiating team didn't consider OHSU's revised offer worth putting to a vote by members.

    "This is not a serious offer," Sheridan said. "This doesn't even come close to solving the staffing problem."

    OHSU said its revised offer gives nurses $1 million more than its previous offer. The medical center doesn't have enough money to give more, it said.

    "I think a million dollars is serious," said Bonnie Driggers, OHSU's nursing director.

    Driggers said the offer responds to other concerns -- for instance, giving an additional 4.7 percent pay raise in the first year to nurses with 25 years or more of experience. It would pay nurses an extra $7.50 an hour for working difficult-to-fill shifts.

    OHSU's offer would give each nurse an additional $30 a month for health insurance, the same as earlier offers. But the revised contract would allow nurses to go back and change their choice of health plan to a less expensive option.

    Driggers said that OHSU requested another mediation session. She said that OHSU gave nurses the Dec. 12 deadline because that is when it would have to start paying for replacement nurses in case of a strike.

    If the nurses walk, Driggers said, OHSU plans to maintain hospital admissions at full levels, although some outside observers doubt nurse managers and replacement nurses could accomplish that goal.
  5. by   -jt
    ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY REGISTERED NURSES/ONA

    NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE FOR DECEMBER 11, 2001:


    Dear Fellow Nurses:

    The time is drawing near for our collective action to take place. As we get
    closer to Monday morning, many of us are understandably jittery, especially
    now that management is asking for our ID badges. No one said this would be
    easy, and we certainly are seeing the effects of tension in our
    units/clinics. Please remember that this entire situation is about
    strategy. The stronger we are, the more successful our strike action will
    be; however, with every day, management will do more to make us question our
    resolve. The recent email from Human Resources was designed to create
    division in our ranks and confusion regarding the truth. We knew this would
    happen and tried to prepare you. Now is the time to remain united. Below
    are some answers to questions members have posed, as well as information on
    upcoming events:

    MEDIATION AND VOTING:

    We have had some calls and emails asking why we are not voting on
    management's revised offer. We must repeat that this is all about strategy.
    Encouraging you to vote on every low-ball offer is a management strategy
    designed to put the Negotiating Team in a position of weakness, forcing us
    to check every nickel with the entire bargaining unit. That's the surest
    way to guarantee that we won't get anything better. And we know management
    has the money to improve their offer significantly!

    We did not take management's recent offer to a vote because there were still
    days left in the week for new offers. As we suspected, the mediator has
    called both parties back to the table on Friday, 12/14. We will continue to
    follow the path the membership has chosen and hope that management will see
    the seriousness of your intent and make a substantially better offer. This
    will be management's last opportunity before a strike to show us we are
    valued! We will put to a vote on Saturday whatever offer management has
    made by the end of Friday's mediation.

    VOTE ON SATURDAY DECEMBER 15 WILL BE HELD AT THE OLD LIBRARY AUDITORIUM:
    0700 - 0900
    1200 - 1400
    1600 - 1800
    1930 - 2100

    BE THERE OR LET THE MINORITY RULE!

    ABSENTEE BALLOT FORMS WILL BE AVAILABLE IN A SEPARATE EMAIL, FOR THOSE WHO
    ARE OUT OF TOWN OR WORK AT AN OFFSITE CLINIC. (you can also have one faxed
    to you from the ONA office by calling 503-293-0011)


    SUPPORT FROM YOUR FELLOW NURSES:

    We have been deluged with emails and phone calls from nurses in other
    hospitals -- even as far away as Ohio, Chicago and New York -- expressing
    support for our cause. Here are a few excerpts:

    "As a member of the UAN, I'm proud to be associated with the nurses from ONA
    and the Nurses at OHSU who are taking such a courageous stand for all nurses
    and their patients. Here in NY, NYSNA nurses have been on strike for two
    weeks over the same issues. Nobody is going to fix things for nurses. We
    are the ones who have to make it happen. NY and Oregon may be 3000 miles
    apart, but we are fighting the same fight... for ourselves, for our
    patients, and for each other."
    (From Julie, RN, New York City)

    "We sincerely hope you know that there is much support for OHSU nurses in
    the nursing community. We appreciate and understand what you are trying to
    do. We too are trying to work with our Administration to better our pay and
    benefit package. Keep up the fight -- there is support for you."
    (From the Legacy Senior Nurses Committee)

    "You are the backbone of patient care in your institution and nurses from
    all around the country are watching your example. Hold fast to your ideals
    and firm to your stance. We need to shout from the mountaintops about the
    staffing issues that management has tried to hide from the public. Get
    their attention and let them know we won't allow this to go on!"
    (Cheryl Johnson, RN, President of the United American Nurses, with a check
    for financial support for the OHSU nurses strike fund. Cheryl will be
    flying in from Michigan to join our picket line on Monday!)

    Nurses from all around the state have called to give support and many plan
    to be with us on the picket line. We've heard from nurses at Providence,
    St. Vincent, Willamette Falls, Kaiser, Tuality, Multnomah County, and others
    who will be marching down the hill with us on Monday morning at 0730 to meet
    nurses walking out of the hospital.

    SUPPORT FROM OTHER UNIONS:

    Yesterday, we attended meetings of the Northwest Oregon Labor Council of the
    AFL-CIO. They unanimously passed a resolution to support our strike and to
    issue a sanction that authorizes other union members to refuse to cross our
    picket lines. Every major union in the Portland Metro area, whose contracts
    contain conscience clauses, will now be joining our strike. The Teamsters
    were the first to sign on, which means that their drivers may refuse to make
    deliveries. Electricians, Carpenters, Steamfitters, Pilots, and all manner
    of fellow workers are supporting our cause.

    On Friday, the statewide Oregon AFL-CIO Executive Board will be hearing our
    presentation and is expected to similarly support our strike.

    This is our public -- some of them are our patients -- and they know we are
    doing the right thing. It has been an inspiring week spending time with our
    new brothers and sisters from AFL-CIO unions all over the state, who know
    what it means to take collective action!

    INFORMATIONAL MEETING THURSDAY 12/13

    Find out from your Negotiating Team the latest developments and share your
    thoughts with your fellow nurses: Old Library Auditorium 0730-0830;
    1215-1315; 1700-1800; 1930-2230. Find out about ID badges and other details
    (you should resist relinquishing your ID badge, since you continue to be a
    permanent employee of OHSU. Management can always just deactivate your
    badge for "security" purposes. However, if you are ordered to relinquish
    it, do so under protest and remember to insist that your manager immediately
    refund the money you paid for your Tri-Met pass!)

    SOLIDARITY MEETING SUNDAY 12/16

    What the walkout will look like. Join your Team as we put the finishing
    touches on the walkout plans and end the afternoon by making more picket
    signs: AURN Union Hall 1pm - 2:30pm.

    MONDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2001, at 0730

    If you are off-duty, meet at the AURN Union Hall at 0630. We will join
    together, arm-in-arm, and march down the hill to the 9th floor lobby
    entrance of South Hospital.

    Nurses who are on the 7a-7p schedule for Monday should report as expected at
    0700 to your units. Do not accept an assignment, since you would need to
    report it back off to your manager or "replacement" nurse within thirty
    minutes. Be ready with your clothing and personal belongings.

    At 0730, we will walk off the floors of the hospitals and clinics. We will
    meet at the lobby entrance the army of nurses who has marched down the hill
    to wait for us. They will have picket signs for us to carry and thus will
    begin our strike.


    TO THE NURSING EDUCATORS:


    One more note..... the Nursing Faculty of OHSU have been told by their Dean
    that they will be expected to cross our picket lines and staff the hospital.
    The time honored tradition of academic freedom which, for centuries, has
    allowed educators to make up their own minds about issues so that they will
    be free to teach their students the truth, is clearly being suppressed at
    OHSU. We ask them now to stand up for something and to join our collective
    action. To you, the Nursing Faculty of the OHSU School of Nursing, we offer
    this encouragement and challenge:

    "Freedom is something you assume. Then you wait until someone tries to take
    it away from you. The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you
    are free."
    (from the album, "Fellow Workers" by Utah Phillips)


    In unity, from your dedicated AURN Negotiating Team,
  6. by   -jt
    <<<<<<TO THE NURSING EDUCATORS:

    One more note..... the Nursing Faculty of OHSU have been told by their Dean
    that they will be expected to cross our picket lines and staff the hospital.
    The time honored tradition of academic freedom which, for centuries, has
    allowed educators to make up their own minds about issues so that they will
    be free to teach their students the truth, is clearly being suppressed at
    OHSU. We ask them now to stand up for something and to join our collective
    action. To you, the Nursing Faculty of the OHSU School of Nursing, we offer
    this encouragement and challenge:

    "Freedom is something you assume. Then you wait until someone tries to take
    it away from you. The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you
    are free."
    (from the album, "Fellow Workers" by Utah Phillips>>>>>>>>>>>


    Anybody think they'll do it??? (Nurse educators at the RN strike at St Catherines in NY just did! Refused to cross the picket line & took their students to clinical at other facilities! Gotta love those teachers!)
    Last edit by -jt on Dec 12, '01
  7. by   Cascadians
    Here's a newspaper article about the OHSU strike; naturally it doesn't show nearly enough of the whole picture, but does give some tidbits worth chewing:

    [ Fair Use: For Educational / Research / Discussion Purposes Only ]
    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/orego...7478400257.xml
    12/22/01, by Wendy Y. Lawton

    OHSU has paid $684,000 for nurses

    In October, Oregon Health & Science University hired a San Francisco medical staffing firm to supply replacements for any striking nurses, paying the company $54 an hour for each of the 250 nurses working in university hospitals and clinics. From Our Advertiser

    According to public records obtained by The Oregonian, OHSU is also footing travel and hotel bills for replacement nurses and license fees for workers arriving from at least 12 other states. OHSU also paid a $212,500 deposit for these services after signing on with Heathcare Consulting and Staffing Services.

    The strike stretches into its sixth day today at Oregon's busiest medical center, with no progress between management and the union in their dispute over pay and other issues. About 1,000 registered nurses stopped work Monday.

    By Friday, university officials say they've spent $684,000 on replacement nurses.

    Over the next month, the university said, the agency has 750 nurses committed to work.

    After Healthcare Consulting takes its share, replacements make $35 per hour. OHSU nurses -- who in part walked out over wages -- make about $18 to $28 per hour.

    "We value the work of all our employees and would like to pay them more," the university said in a statement, "but we have to make sound business decisions based on the reality of our income."

    Theresa Johnson, a critical care nurse walking the picket line Friday, said the high pay for fill-in nurses is an insult.

    "If OHSU is paying this much money to them, why don't they pay that much to us?" Johnson said. "It just shows that management doesn't respect us."

    OHSU officials say they can't afford the union's last request of about a 20 percent raise over 24 months. OHSU is offering to increase wages about 14 percent over 27 months. Talks with a state mediator are expected to resume next week.

    In the meantime, the university is operating with replacements and other nurses. According to OHSU, 125 staff nurses crossed picket lines this week, and 80 to 100 temporary nurses who typically work at OHSU also are working. OHSU said striking nurses have been replaced with nursing school faculty, nurse managers, clinical specialists and nurse practioners.

    At the sprawling 263-acre Southwest Portland campus, a Healthcare Consulting strike team has set up a temporary office to manage its workers. Replacements arrive twice a day at OHSU on private buses with blacked-out windows. University officials said the fill-in nurses hail from across Oregon, Washington and Idaho and as far away as New York and Louisiana.

    The company they work for keeps a low profile.

    Healthcare Consulting has no Web site and no listed telephone number. Records filed with the California secretary of state show the business was incorporated in 1999, listing Gary Fanger as the registered agent.

    Public records show that Fanger is also the chief executive of Travel Nurse International Inc.

    Also headquartered in San Francisco, Travel Nurse International supplies registered nurses to hospitals around the world. Fanger didn't return phone calls Friday. But the firm's Web site advertises assignments lasting one to 13 weeks with signing bonuses, paid travel, health insurance and "guaranteed highest wages."

    According to newspaper reports, Travel Nurse hired some replacement nurses last year during the Stanford University strike in California.

    State and national nurses union officials say about a half dozen temporary agencies in the country specialize in sending nurses to striking hospitals. Companies recruit nurses through Internet ads and telephone and e-mail solicitations. Because of controversy, most shy away from attention.

    "They like to fly under the radar screen," said Suzanne Martin, spokeswoman for United American Nurses, the nation's largest nurses labor union.

    Here are some provisions of the contract with Healthcare Consulting, signed by OHSU Chief Financial Officer Aaron Crane on Oct. 29:

    Healthcare Consulting will be the "exclusive contractor" to staff the OHSU strike, although existing staff, temporary staff and "traveling" nurses can be used.

    Replacement nurses must be guaranteed four 12-hour shifts per week.

    OHSU will be billed $81 per hour for nurse overtime and holidays such as Christmas and New Year's Eve.

    Replacement nurses in charge of units make an extra $10 per hour. Nurses will bill 50 percent of their $35 hourly rate while on call.

    Ken Fitzsimon, administrator for labor relations with the Oregon Nurses Association, questioned the quality of temporary workers with no knowledge of hospital procedures and no loyalty to the institution.

    "I'm sure some of these nurses are competent," Fitzsimon said, "but I'm sure others are warm bodies with a license."

    Dr. Jerris Hedges, OHSU's chief of emergency services, said the nurses he's working with are dedicated, well-trained and quick to adapt. "They know what it's like to move around," Hedges said. "So they put good, solid nursing care to work right away."

    Under Oregon law, nurses must have a state license. Applicants must prove they've graduated from an approved nursing program, passed a national exam and worked at least 960 hours in the last five years. The Oregon State Board of Nursing also uses a law enforcement database to weed out convicted murders, rapists or sexual abusers.

    Board spokeswoman Barbara Holtry said investigators also check out disciplinary infractions from other states to ensure safe care before licenses are issued -- including any licenses issued to replacement nurses.
  8. by   -jt
    01/10/02

    1500 striking ONA RNs at the Oregon Health Sciences University are staying strong in their bid for fair wages, benefits and treatment for nurses. OHSU has struggled to keep the hospital adequately staffed and functioning, according to a complaint filed with the Oregon Department of Human Services & Health Services. Read the latest at:
    www.fairpay4nurses.org.
    and at
    "Welcome to UAN - The Union for Nurses, by Nurses"
    www.UANnurse.org


    <<<<"At least 200 nurses jammed Union Hall for the first of our Thursday evening "Ask the Bargaining Team" meetings held on January 10. Participants heard about the latest efforts to get you the contract you deserve. The meeting also provided a great forum to ask questions about the strike, the mediation process, alternative work as well as tips on coping as we near our fifth week on the picket lines.

    It was also a wonderful opportunity to recharge by talking to each other about our power and unity. The members of your negotiating team and your Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) staffers have committed to holding these meetings every week as yet another way to keep the lines of communication wide open.

    Many of you asked, "what can I do in addition to walking the picket line and volunteering at strike headquarters?" The answer is easy: remind your friends to honor our picket lines; call Peter Kohler to express your feelings (his number is 503-494-8252); write or e-mail Oregon state legislators. You can find them on the web at www.leg.state.or.us

    If you need our help or have questions that can't wait until the next meeting, please come by Strike Headquarters or call us at 503-916-4382. We're here to help.

    The next meeting is Thursday, January 17th from 6 to 9 PM at the Union Hall, 1010 SW Gibbs. Please come and share your opinions, concerns, suggestions and questions.

    ONA has filed a complaint with the Oregon Employment Relations Board asking it to stop OHSU from paying nurses who have crossed the line the incentive of $7.50 per hour in addition to regular pay. Details can be found on the ONA web site under the button: "News".

    This week's bridge picketing in downtown Portland was also a roaring success with hundreds of horns honking to support you in your struggle. About 150 nurses participated and found this so satisfying we are working on scheduling another bridge picket. (Look for details soon on the Calendar of Events page of the ONA web site.) Sign up to participate. It is energizing to get down off the hill and see how many people are with you!

    Next time you meet a nurse from Providence St. Vincent Hospital, say "thanks." Their bargaining unit donated $1,000 to our strike fund. We are grateful for their generosity and thoughtfulness and wish them the best as they negotiate their own contract."
    www.fairplay4nurses.org >>>









    .
  9. by   -jt
    NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE FOR
    JANUARY 5, 2002:

    www.OregonRN.org

    <<<<"JANUARY 4, MEDIATION SESSION: MANAGEMENT LENGTHENS THEIR OFFER TO 39 MONTHS AND INSISTS ON RESTRICTIONS FOR VOTING
    After 12 hours of mediation on Friday, January 4, we still have not received a decent offer from management. Having heard from our membership that the profit-sharing scheme was unacceptable, management sent us an offer during mediation that merely extended last week's offer (the 27 month offer, minus the profit sharing) to 39 months. For the third year of that proposal, they offered 6%. In the 36th month, they proposed 2%. All other elements of their final offer remained the same. Below is a summary of where we are on each of the articles.

    Your Negotiation Team sent the mediator back to management several times to tell them to take our last offer and move toward that direction. We were not insistent that they meet our 18% demand, but rather encouraged them to make a better offer within 24 months than their 12% offer. They declined to offer any more money in the next two years, but maintained their stance of a 39-month contract. They refused to work with our ideas on insurance and would not address the Article 11 (free speech and union representation), tuition discount, and Critical Need issues.

    Having heard from so many of you in our polling that you support the huge concessions we made last week, that we not accept a 6% per year offer, and the direction we have taken to be creative in finding a way to get you back to work, we worked for twelve hours to get management to respond collaboratively. Unfortunately, they refused to cooperate. At the end of the day, we were left with an offer that merely extends the contract into a fourth year, manipulating the expiration date so that we'll never again be able to strike over the holidays. OHSU clearly had difficulty staffing with strikebreaking nurses during this time, and they don't want to have to deal with this again.

    Despite the fact that we consider this latest offer completely unacceptable, we decided to take it to a vote and let the membership pronounce its acceptability. When a bargaining unit is out on strike, a return-to-work (RTW) agreement must be made with the employer about such details as benefits accrual, return date, seniority, transfers, grievances, leaves of absence, and other issues that have been on hold during the strike. Though they had little quarrel with the details of the RTW agreement, OHSU management refused to sign it, insisting that the AURN Negotiating Team be gagged with regard to speaking about the offer and that the time allowed for a vote be severely restricted.

    WE CANNOT ALLOW MANAGEMENT TO RESTRICT OUR VOTING PROCESS. THIS MAY BE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISIONS WE WILL MAKE IN OUR CAREERS. We strongly believe in a democratic process that would allow every single member of this bargaining unit to have the opportunity to vote. This means contacting every one of you to inform you of the offer details, as well as the date, place and time of the vote. It means printing up voting materials and distributing absentee ballots. We will not carry out any vote which is being manipulated by management. Further, the gagging of the AURN Negotiating Team would not allow any opportunity for questions, answers, or recommendations. This is one more example of the level of control that management continues to try to exert over us. We are extremely dismayed that management would seek to have control even over our union processes, as they appear to exert over our employment.

    As we continue with these mediations, you will hear things from management that are not true. You will hear that we are not reducing our own wage proposal. On the contrary, our stance for several weeks has been to invite management to come back with a wage proposal that will give you better than a 12% increase in the next 24 months that we can take to a vote. You will hear that the PERS contribution makes management's 12%/24 month offer competitive by October 2003, but that's because nobody else has decent retirement benefits.

    We're sure the other hospitals would love to know that they could get rid of their retirement programs because they're not attracting any nurses! In the Oregonian, management insists on comparing the BSN wage scale with RN wage scales of other hospitals (actually, a mythical "Metro Average"). What about the 500 of us who don't have a BSN? And what about the 71% of current Oregon RN licensees who don't have a BSN? (OSBN figures from 10/31/01). Why would they come to work at OHSU when they can make up to $6.00 an hour more somewhere else?

    What will win us a better contract offer? We must stay strong and be willing to stay out long enough to allow all of the outside pressures to take effect. When OHSU has had enough, they will stop being stubborn, get rid of Article 11, and offer us a decent contract to vote on.">>>>>
  10. by   -jt
    Re: Oregon Nurses Association/UAN Strike:

    <<<"These are some of the pressures that are beginning to arise:


    1) Management is getting tired of taking care of patients seven days a week, twenty four hours a day. Some of them are even having to do multiple doubles because the staffing is so low. Sound familiar?

    2) The strike-breaking nurses from across the country are beginning to leave. Newer, better-paying wages at other striking hospitals appeal to their greedy nature, so they won't be hanging around OHSU for long, as they discover higher strike-breaking wages elsewhere. Check with your friends inside. We hear plenty about the scabs' dissatisfaction. Good riddance!

    3) Doctors are sick of having substandard assistance, despite the ad from MD Department Directors in the Oregonian. The docs we work next to every day want us back and are saying so to management.

    4) Our political allies in the legislature are none too happy with management for wasting millions of dollars on this strike. They control both OHSU's annual state budget of over $100 million, as well as the backing for the several hundred-million-dollar bonds OHSU will need to build a tram and expand the campus. The more unhappy they become with Peter Kohler's arrogance, the more closely they will look at how much he needs financial help from the legislature at all. The legislature is meeting in the coming days to determine cuts that will need to be made to deal with the state's budget shortfall. OHSU has wasted more money on this strike -- over a million dollars a day -- than some agencies get for their entire budgets. We don't think the legislature will put up with that for long.

    5) Every day the strike continues, more of us are leaving for better employment elsewhere. We said this to management on day one of these negotiations and continue to remind them of this eventuality. If management has any wish to retain the expert skills and long-standing experience in our bargaining unit, they need to bring an improved offer to the table so we can vote on it. We know that and so do they. So far, about 100 nurses have left OHSU. How long will they allow this to go on?

    6) Management has refused to agree to improvements in the AURN-Management Committee language. This is a bad public relations move, since so much has surfaced about OHSU's inadequate relations with its nurses. We seek to have a real forum where nurses can bring important issues to management. It is clear that they are hiding from accountability and that looks pretty bad.

    Contract Issues Summary:

    Article 11, Association Privileges: Management's offer still includes restrictions on free speech and union representation. We must not sign any contract that includes these restrictions.

    Article 61, Insurance: Management has not committed to developing a self-insurance plan which, for many, would be an inexpensive health care alternative. Instead, they retain the same shopworn idea of making $30 contributions to premiums for expensive insurance.

    Article 65, Staff Development: If management is so sure that $100,000 is enough to cover the tuition discount for the entire bargaining unit, then why not raise the cap to $120,000 just in case it doesn't? If no one needs it, then the money isn't spent. A $20,000 promise to spend if needed is pretty cheap good will.

    Article 75, AURN/Management Cooperative Committee: Why won't management agree to accountability for addressing their poor relationships with nurses? We think it would be a great way improve the hospital's image.

    Article 76, Critical Need Incentive (CNI): Frankly, we are stumped at management's unwillingness to meet us halfway on this. We're not even seeking the community standard of paying nurses for every shift over our FTE's. We're merely asking for parameters that will keep the "management's whim" element at bay. They're insisting that only shifts they specifically designate will qualify for the premium. So, there would be no automatic CNI when the staffing keeps falling and falling.

    Salary Schedule: In our polling, the overwhelming majority of you said you want a 24 month contract with somewhere between 16 and18 percent over two years (many of you want even more). We gave management every opportunity to come in with an offer better than their 6% per year. What did they return with? A restrictive, 39-month contract that will keep us on the low end of the region's salary scales for over three years! Never mind their overt manipulation of the contract expiration date to 12/31/04, so that the next time they are threatened with a strike, they won't have so much trouble getting replacements! Are we that easily fooled?"
    www.fairplay4nurses.org >>>>>>>>>
  11. by   -jt
    Support from everywhere....

    **From an OHSU Nurse: "After finishing the phone bank yesterday and today, I feel there is a strong message... IT WILL TAKE A REVOLUTION TO TURN THINGS AROUND. We are in the engine of the revolution and should feel proud. OHSU management is trying to bully us and they should feel the power of our engine. Hold fast. I am so proud that so few have crossed the line. I hope this strength will prevail. It hurts to hear that 20+ year veterans are tossing in the towel and seriously looking elsewhere. I guess that is the price OHSU will pay for their arrogance."

    **From our website: "I just wanted to encourage all of you to keep up the good work. Your efforts will not only benefit nurses and patients at OHSU but will serve to benefit nursing everywhere. What you are asking for is completely reasonable. Hospital administration has for too long been able to count on nurses to back down and take what is offered to them. It is time they realize our true value. It is obvious, based on the dollars being spent for scabs, that this is more of a power issue than a financial one. Rest assured as the costs increase, so too will public awareness. Stay strong and unified and you will prevail. And shame on any nurse, agency or otherwise, who would cross the picket line to serve only his or her own interests! Such an act to me is unfathomable."

    **From an Illinois RN: "It never ceases to amaze me how management refuses to recognize and utilize the best employee they've got... the registered professional nurse and their common sense knowledge that saves the employer money; not wasting it by blocking good faith bargaining and spending money on worthless strike strategies! The power of expeditious problem solving is second nature to nurses and results in positive outcomes.... too bad it isn't the first line decision making process with healthcare employers! Hang together... stay strong, you nurses in Oregon... the backbone of healthcare!"

    **From a Washington RN: "I want to send my vote of support to the nurses walking the lines. I understand the hard decision you all made to go on strike. It takes great courage to stand for your convictions. Nurses need to stand together and fight for what is right." **From a Klamath Falls RN: "My heart is with you during this difficult time. Stand up for what you believe is right."

    **From Medford: "I post all of your info daily on our unit and nurses ask for a morning update. Several of us are checking our schedules to get to Portland to walk with you. Agencies have been calling us to work and we call back with the word that nurses in Oregon will not cross a line. Having experienced a strike in '90, many RNs here feel acutely what you do and we are behind you. Thanks for the good work for patient care in Oregon and for nurses everywhere."

    **From Portland: "The Multnomah County nurses are behind you 100%. I have been passing out 'I support OHSU Nurses' flyers and they are going into car windows. We wish you luck!"

    In solidarity,
    Your AURN Negotiating Team: Dominga Lopez, Susanna Rhodes, Harold Fleshman, Stephanie Asher, Renee' Bissonnette, Ben Davis, Debbie Churchill, Brenda Leonard, Michelle Jackson, and Kathleen Sheridan. Registered Nurses All!"
    www.fairplay4nurses.org >>>>>>>

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Oregon Nurses Vote In Favor Of Strike