Robert Wood Johnson Univ Hospital Nurses to Strike - page 12

Registered nurses start strike August 24, 2006 at 7am at Robert Wood Johnson Univeristy Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ Nurses reject contract proposal Home News Tribune Online 08/17/06 By DAVID... Read More

  1. by   ZASHAGALKA
    I can argue --- DISCUSS --- things with my friends and peers. But, while I MIGHT feel entitled to express my opinions in our domain, I will absolutely close ranks against the outside.

    Nurses don't just earn their keep: they earn it for EVERY employee of a hospital, from the CEO on down.

    Without us, a hospital is just a building with a bunch of empty beds and turned off equipment.

    Even to the EXTENT that RWJ is open for business during a strike, it is because of NURSES, whether they've crossed the line or donned scrubs instead of business suits.

    Even as they engage in a strike, management can't HELP but value the roles of NURSES. Without THEM, even management would be on unemployment.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Sep 13, '06
  2. by   mekrn
    Quote from VOICE OF REASON
    I don't have anything to do with hospital administration. I work at RWJ and only wish I made as much $$ as the average nurse there. ($42/hour!). I can see that having actual facts makes you all angry such as the fact that nearly half of RWJ nurses don't contribute anything to their healthcare. Facts can do that if they don't help with your argument. Hence the name calling. I've been called many things, and "executive" isn't nearly the worst. (By the way, the fact that newspapers haven't reported that most nurses pay nothing for health insurance doesn't mean your fellow RWJ employees don't know it. Who do you think pays more so you dont have to!) Name calling does not make me angry. What makes me angry is the unfair class system that RWJ has set up over the years where nurses get special treatment, unbelievable raises (27 percent was the average increase over the last contract), no contribution towards health insurance, and now they want a special health plan that just by the way happens to be run by their union, the United Steelworkers Union. Gee, I'm sure the union doesn't make any money off that. Call me all the names you want. But I remain the (Angry) Voice of Reason.
    Please provide the source for the misinformation (otherwise known as "actual facts") that you spew, such as "most nurses pay nothing for health insurance" and especially, "27 percent was the average increase in the last contract".

    Additionally, other RWJ employees do not pay more for their health insurance so the nurses don't have to. That is a blatant lie! Premium contributions are based on date of hire, not position. Including nurses! Perhaps you would not feel so angry if you had your facts correct.
  3. by   VOICE OF REASON
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    I'm worth twice what I'm paid. You eye our serious underpayment of worth because you have no idea what it takes to earn that money.

    Hospitals don't exist for doctors. They have their offices. They don't exist for administrators. Hospitals exist for NURSING care....
    .
    Is the note below what you mean by nursing care? This is from what nurses were passing out to patients before they went on strike. Very compassionate:

    "Over the coming weekend, you will face a major decision about what is best for your loved one who is currently a patient at RWJUH. The hospital will give you some vague verbiage about high quality replacements... Will the Dept. of Health be able to ensure your safety? Just take a look at DYFS in New Jersey and multiply that problem by ten. What can you do to avoid a very dangerous situation and an interruption in your loved one's care?"
  4. by   mekrn
    Quote from VOICE OF REASON
    Is the note below what you mean by nursing care? This is from what nurses were passing out to patients before they went on strike. Very compassionate:

    "Over the coming weekend, you will face a major decision about what is best for your loved one who is currently a patient at RWJUH. The hospital will give you some vague verbiage about high quality replacements... Will the Dept. of Health be able to ensure your safety? Just take a look at DYFS in New Jersey and multiply that problem by ten. What can you do to avoid a very dangerous situation and an interruption in your loved one's care?"
    Do you deny that the situation is dangerous or that there has been an interruption of care? While I have never seen that document nor passed that or anything else out to my patients, sounds to me like RWJ nurses once again advocating for the safe care of their patients. I assume there was more to that document that does not support your argument. Perhaps you would like to post what is says families can do to avoid a dangerous situation and interruption to their loved one's care.
  5. by   ironica01
    Quote from VOICE OF REASON
    Is the note below what you mean by nursing care? This is from what nurses were passing out to patients before they went on strike. Very compassionate:

    "Over the coming weekend, you will face a major decision about what is best for your loved one who is currently a patient at RWJUH. The hospital will give you some vague verbiage about high quality replacements... Will the Dept. of Health be able to ensure your safety? Just take a look at DYFS in New Jersey and multiply that problem by ten. What can you do to avoid a very dangerous situation and an interruption in your loved one's care?"
    this is a blatant lie. How do you think will the nurses pass this information to patients without the admi. knowing? Actually, it was the hospital who passed along wrong info to their patients to bring the union and the nurses in the bad light. Your information that about half of the nurses at RWJUH do not pay their health insurance is another lie. I womder what year was the cut off of your information because I've been working in this hospital for 8 years and I pay my premium just like everybody else since day one. and a 27% increase in salary? for your information, the last contract we had agreed for an increase of 4% in the first and second year of the contract and 3% on the third year. so where did you get your information?
    if it was not for the nurses, the hospital is just a brick of stone and not called a hospital and you won't even have a job to perform and get paid for.
  6. by   sunnyjohn
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    I'm worth twice what I'm paid. You eye our serious underpayment of worth because you have no idea what it takes to earn that money.

    Hospitals don't exist for doctors. They have their offices. They don't exist for administrators. Hospitals exist for NURSING care. To the extent such a hospital makes its millions, the few dollars I get paid are so not enough.

    And THAT's the bottom line.

    I personally might not agree with the specific solution that the RWJ nurses are advocating, but I understand that their problems should be addressed. And I respect the fact that 1300 nurses can't all be wrong.

    For what we do daily, 42 bucks an hour - an exaggeration to start with - is STILL chump change.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    I can argue --- DISCUSS --- things with my friends and peers. But, while I MIGHT feel entitled to express my opinions in our domain, I will absolutely close ranks against the outside.

    Nurses don't just earn their keep: they earn it for EVERY employee of a hospital, from the CEO on down.

    Without us, a hospital is just a building with a bunch of empty beds and turned off equipment.

    Even to the EXTENT that RWJ is open for business during a strike, it is because of NURSES, whether they've crossed the line or donned scrubs instead of business suits.

    Even as they engage in a strike, management can't HELP but value the roles of NURSES. Without THEM, even management would be on unemployment.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    TELL IT TIMOTHY!

    WOOT! :yeahthat:
  7. by   ironica01
    Quote from VOICE OF REASON
    I don't have anything to do with hospital administration. I work at RWJ and only wish I made as much $$ as the average nurse there. ($42/hour!). I can see that having actual facts makes you all angry such as the fact that nearly half of RWJ nurses don't contribute anything to their healthcare. Facts can do that if they don't help with your argument. Hence the name calling. I've been called many things, and "executive" isn't nearly the worst. (By the way, the fact that newspapers haven't reported that most nurses pay nothing for health insurance doesn't mean your fellow RWJ employees don't know it. Who do you think pays more so you dont have to!) Name calling does not make me angry. What makes me angry is the unfair class system that RWJ has set up over the years where nurses get special treatment, unbelievable raises (27 percent was the average increase over the last contract), no contribution towards health insurance, and now they want a special health plan that just by the way happens to be run by their union, the United Steelworkers Union. Gee, I'm sure the union doesn't make any money off that. Call me all the names you want. But I remain the (Angry) Voice of Reason.
    Like I said I've been a nurse at RWJ for 8 years and never made the $42/hr which you are claiming.
  8. by   JHUBRAIN
    Quote from VOICE OF REASON
    I don't have anything to do with hospital administration. I work at RWJ and only wish I made as much $$ as the average nurse there. ($42/hour!). I can see that having actual facts makes you all angry such as the fact that nearly half of RWJ nurses don't contribute anything to their healthcare. Facts can do that if they don't help with your argument. Hence the name calling. I've been called many things, and "executive" isn't nearly the worst. (By the way, the fact that newspapers haven't reported that most nurses pay nothing for health insurance doesn't mean your fellow RWJ employees don't know it. Who do you think pays more so you dont have to!) Name calling does not make me angry. What makes me angry is the unfair class system that RWJ has set up over the years where nurses get special treatment, unbelievable raises (27 percent was the average increase over the last contract), no contribution towards health insurance, and now they want a special health plan that just by the way happens to be run by their union, the United Steelworkers Union. Gee, I'm sure the union doesn't make any money off that. Call me all the names you want. But I remain the (Angry) Voice of Reason.
    I think you are way off - and your anger towards the nurses show. If I may - what dept to you work in?
  9. by   fedupnurse
    If I have an off day at work, perhaps not feeling well, something like that and I don't get my work done in a timely manner, human beings not only suffer for it, they may die because of it. Nurses aren't allowed to have bad days at work. We can't finish that "project" tomorrow. That is something I feel many in management have also forgotten and why I have long professed a need for anyone with the title of Registered Nurse should be legally required to do a minimum number of clinical hours at the bedside each and every year. No cushy assignments either. If they don't care about giving us 8 to 10 patients on med surg (and in many places even more than that) or 3 crashing unit patients or filling up the ED until it is literally bursting at the seams than they can do it too. Perhaps then they would see it just cannot be done safely.This is particularly true in my facility where many have gone into management to get away from the unreasonable patient care conditions that they now protect in the name of the bottom line!
    I would never permit anyone I care about to ever be in a hospital where any job action is taking place. I don't care if it is nurses, dietary, physical therapy or what. it is all of us "little people" the pee ons for lack of a better term that keep these facilities going and the thanks we get are substandard wages and treatment! Until the federal government gets up off its butt and passes and enforeces laws mandating safe patient care in this country the profit driven executives will still be laughing all the way to the bank!
    Last edit by fedupnurse on Sep 13, '06
  10. by   JHUBRAIN
    Quote from fedupnurse
    If I have an off day at work, perhaps not feeling well, something like that and I don't get my work done in a timely manner, human beings not only suffer for it, they may die because of it. Nurses aren't allowed to have bad days at work. We can't finish that "project" tomorrow. That is something I feel many in management have also forgotten and why I have long professed a need for anyone with the title of Registered Nurse should be legally required to do a minimum number of clinical hours at the bedside each and every year. No cushy assignments either. If they don't care about giving us 8 to 10 patients on med surg (and in many places even more than that) or 3 crashing unit patients or filling up the ED until it is literally bursting at the seams than they can do it too. Perhaps then they would see it just cannot be done safely.This is particularly true in my facility where many have gone into management to get away from the unreasonable patient care conditions that they now protect in the name of the bottom line!
    I would never permit anyone I care about to ever be in a hospital where any job action is taking place. I don't care if it is nurses, dietary, physical therapy or what. it is all of us "little people" the pee ons for lack of a better term that keep these facilities going and the thanks we get are substandard wages and treatment! Until the federal government gets up off its butt and passes and enforeces laws mandating safe patient care in this country the profit driven executives will still be laughing all the way to the bank!

    Well said
  11. by   mrsmitty
    Nurses at RWJ can make well over $42 per hour depending on experience, education and shift differentials. They deserve that and even more.

    As for payments for health insurance that depends on date of hire as various groups are grandfathered from paying as much as newer employees. This very typically happens when new contracts are negotiated and is a way for an organization to provide more to existing employees while knowing that their costs for new employees will be lower in. Everybody wins at the time of settlement, but once in awhile there are hard feelings later toward the grandfathered employees by the newer employees who may not enjoy the same level of compensation or benefits. That's their problem. They know what they signed on for.

    What concerns me is this: "We can't adjust our last, best and final offer," Collins said Monday, ahead of the talks which began at 2 p.m. yesterday in Woodbridge.

    Now I don't know what was discussed in the meeting or even if Collins said this, but if this is an actual quote, it is not a good way to go into a negotiation because you're saying you won't negotiate.

    The union has proposed plans that they say would save the hospital money (And by the way Voice of Reason, the union does not make money off these plans). I assume that they say there are cost savings because the hospital has indicated that the existing health plan costs $xxx. Don't believe the hospital's numbers. In all likelihood the hospital presents numbers based on what they would actually charge for the services that are rendered to employees. In reality their costs or the reimbursements they would receive from another insurance company are much lower. So it is quite likely that the BC/BS presented to the hospital would actually cost the hospital money. This is why it is going to be difficult, probably impossible, to get the hospital to change their position. I think "Zashagalka" explained that very well in some of his posts.

    The issues the nurses have are very legitimate in terms of privacy, convenience to their home and availability of doctors. But it is not uncommon for hospitals to steer employees to their facilities. It holds costs down. The copays for going out of network are not all that unreasonable and for instance BC/BS would have a deductible and coinsurance that might exceed the RWJ copay, but of course you would have an in-network place near your home that would in many cases avoid the copay issue.

    Nurses who do not take the insurance receive a modest amount of money from the hospital. Maybe the hospital would be willing to set up section 125 plan for insurance premiums so that nurses who want BC/BS could fund the premium on a before tax basis. The hospital could contribute what they reimburse now or slightly more, and the union can provide the insurance directly to the employees who want an alternative. This will likely cost the employees more, but they would have choice. The hospital should be willing to contribute more because the money contributed to the section 125 plan will be exempt from FICA and medicare taxes, saving the hospital money and they will have no cost for care for the employee.

    I know that a very good BC/BS POS plan with reasonable copays can be had for about $760 for a family plan. This is when the group is composite rated as all family plans. Maybe what the union has proposed will be even less. It is hard to understand why the hospital would not go along with such a scenario as their only costs are the administration of the section 125 plan which are minimal and of course they would have to remit the money to the union welfare fund or BC/BS directly depending on how it is setup.

    I don't have the cost of the coverage options that exist now but in all likelihood this will result in some additional costs to employees, but they have a plan of their choice.

    Right now it seems that the wheels are spinning but there's no traction. Our incomes are suffering and the hospital is surely losing. Another approach might be in order.
  12. by   mekrn
    Quote from mrsmitty
    Nurses at RWJ can make well over $42 per hour depending on experience, education and shift differentials. They deserve that and even more.

    As for payments for health insurance that depends on date of hire as various groups are grandfathered from paying as much as newer employees. This very typically happens when new contracts are negotiated and is a way for an organization to provide more to existing employees while knowing that their costs for new employees will be lower in. Everybody wins at the time of settlement, but once in awhile there are hard feelings later toward the grandfathered employees by the newer employees who may not enjoy the same level of compensation or benefits. That's their problem. They know what they signed on for.

    What concerns me is this: "We can't adjust our last, best and final offer," Collins said Monday, ahead of the talks which began at 2 p.m. yesterday in Woodbridge.

    Now I don't know what was discussed in the meeting or even if Collins said this, but if this is an actual quote, it is not a good way to go into a negotiation because you're saying you won't negotiate.

    The union has proposed plans that they say would save the hospital money (And by the way Voice of Reason, the union does not make money off these plans). I assume that they say there are cost savings because the hospital has indicated that the existing health plan costs $xxx. Don't believe the hospital's numbers. In all likelihood the hospital presents numbers based on what they would actually charge for the services that are rendered to employees. In reality their costs or the reimbursements they would receive from another insurance company are much lower. So it is quite likely that the BC/BS presented to the hospital would actually cost the hospital money. This is why it is going to be difficult, probably impossible, to get the hospital to change their position. I think "Zashagalka" explained that very well in some of his posts.

    The issues the nurses have are very legitimate in terms of privacy, convenience to their home and availability of doctors. But it is not uncommon for hospitals to steer employees to their facilities. It holds costs down. The copays for going out of network are not all that unreasonable and for instance BC/BS would have a deductible and coinsurance that might exceed the RWJ copay, but of course you would have an in-network place near your home that would in many cases avoid the copay issue.

    Nurses who do not take the insurance receive a modest amount of money from the hospital. Maybe the hospital would be willing to set up section 125 plan for insurance premiums so that nurses who want BC/BS could fund the premium on a before tax basis. The hospital could contribute what they reimburse now or slightly more, and the union can provide the insurance directly to the employees who want an alternative. This will likely cost the employees more, but they would have choice. The hospital should be willing to contribute more because the money contributed to the section 125 plan will be exempt from FICA and medicare taxes, saving the hospital money and they will have no cost for care for the employee.

    I know that a very good BC/BS POS plan with reasonable copays can be had for about $760 for a family plan. This is when the group is composite rated as all family plans. Maybe what the union has proposed will be even less. It is hard to understand why the hospital would not go along with such a scenario as their only costs are the administration of the section 125 plan which are minimal and of course they would have to remit the money to the union welfare fund or BC/BS directly depending on how it is setup.

    I don't have the cost of the coverage options that exist now but in all likelihood this will result in some additional costs to employees, but they have a plan of their choice.

    Right now it seems that the wheels are spinning but there's no traction. Our incomes are suffering and the hospital is surely losing. Another approach might be in order.
    I would like to know how YOUR income is suffering when you are not a nurse. However, you are correct that the hospital is losing.
  13. by   mrsmitty
    My spouse is a striking nurse at RWJ. She is picketing in solidarity with all the other nurses. She doesn't need the insurance and just wants to go back to the job she loves. She would never cross the picket line and will probably leave instead.

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