Robert Wood Johnson Univ Hospital Nurses to Strike - page 15

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   ironica01
    Quote from proud2banurse
    This strike can go on if we vote this contract down. However, consider how much money we have lost already in wages. Some of us are not working at all. Also consider that if the strike continues, the hospital will also continue to lose money. It is conceivable that this offer can be taken off the table at any time and we could end up with nothing. There are also other things that can be taken away. The hospital could decide that they can no longer affords to fund the pension plan because of all of the money that they are losing/lost in the strike.

    I would say that this contract should be voted in. Perhaps we can learn something from all of this. One of the things is to get a better negotiating team next time around.

    Also, perhaps USW is not the best union for us. There is a stronger healthcare union I believe based in California.

    Nurses are proven to be not the best negotiators. Not that the hospital is either. But there are people who are and whose expertise can be had for a price.
    the hospital has insurance to cover the strike ( as their contingency plan), that means, the hospital is not really taking out any money out of their pockets. if we are going to vote in this contract, then why did we strike in the first place? whatever the hospital is proposing this time is the same proposal that we rejected. if you think this contract will be beneficial for you, go ahead, you have a choice. i cannot imagine to be a laughing stock if this contract pushes through. same dog different collar.....
  2. by   proud2banurse
    As I said before, "this dog" is going to take a full-time job at another hospital then. The reason for this entire strike is stupid if you ask me.
    The hospital will never agree to have the nurses go to other facilities for their healthcare, that is unreasonable.

    I have read this forum and some of the outside nurses make good points.

    If you feel that RWJ does not offer you enough, feel free to keep striking. But count me out. I am tired of this merry-go-round and supporting a bunch of nurses who are not going to get anything in the long run.

    The community sees RWJ as greedy and selfish, so you get no support there. According to what agencies and other hospitals are paying, we make good money with good working conditions. That in part is because of the union. So, for that reason, I have supported the nurses on the picket line. However, this is not my issue. If you can't deal with the insurance problem, get your own private policy. RWJ affords their nurses with unlimited overtime and the potential to make extra money, if necessary. Many of the contract agency nurses do exactly that.

    I don't even use this insurance, but would rather go elsewhere than deal with a bunch of nurses who are striking for something riduculous and losing a huge deal of income. I also do not have confidence in the union bargaining for us to get anything more in this contract. I feel that they are poor negotiators. If it were up to me, I never would have taken a strike vote. I would have asked that the nurses have an additional 3 months at the current contract to work on a new proposal. I would have spent money to hire professional negotiators to get a better contract for the nurses. There are ways to get better insurance policies and they were listed in this forum. I believe MRSMITTY came up with some good ideas.

    Many of the nurses I work with voted the contract down, not only because of the health insurance issue, but because they felt that they could push the hospital to give more and more. They felt that 3% was not enough, they wanted 3 12 hour shifts to be full time, etc. All of these issues are lost on a select group of nurses who do not feel that the healthcare they are provided is enough.

    Guess what? I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield through my husband's company. It is a good policy. Last week I went to my Gyn Doc. who is not even based at RWJ. Do you know what insurance she accepts??? NONE!!

    So imagine that. The rest of the world has health care problems too. If I had gone to RWJ ED with my problem and had RWJ's health insurance, I would have had my workup for free. How bad is that. I do understand that there are problems with this health insurance. But can you tell me that the majority of the nurses at RWJ who take this coverage have over $5,000 in bills this year, since this is the income we lost already.

    I refuse to understand why nurses cannot conceive that the hospital is a business. I cannot understand why some nurses think that they alone have made RWJ what it is today. To me that is arrogant.

    I also do not understand why nurses would feel that we were on strike for 3 weeks and did not get anything additional. How are you going to feel if we are on strike for 8 more weeks and get nothing... period.

    This strike is a crap shoot. It has been said that RWJ is not losing money since they have insurance for this type of situation. Do we? Why is it that we pay money for union dues, but have no strike insurance?

    Do not put all of your faith in the hospital or in the union. Be willing to think for yourself. Weigh out what you will actually get in the long run and never think emotionally.

    For me, I think in the vein of lost income. I have learned a lot in the past 3 weeks, about how to better manage my finances, about how to live on a limited income. I am willing to take a job with less pay with better working conditions now. I was not willing to do so in the past.

    Good luck in your decisions, I wish you the best.
  3. by   ironica01
    Quote from proud2banurse
    As I said before, "this dog" is going to take a full-time job at another hospital then. The reason for this entire strike is stupid if you ask me.
    The hospital will never agree to have the nurses go to other facilities for their healthcare, that is unreasonable.

    I have read this forum and some of the outside nurses make good points.

    If you feel that RWJ does not offer you enough, feel free to keep striking. But count me out. I am tired of this merry-go-round and supporting a bunch of nurses who are not going to get anything in the long run.

    The community sees RWJ as greedy and selfish, so you get no support there. According to what agencies and other hospitals are paying, we make good money with good working conditions. That in part is because of the union. So, for that reason, I have supported the nurses on the picket line. However, this is not my issue. If you can't deal with the insurance problem, get your own private policy. RWJ affords their nurses with unlimited overtime and the potential to make extra money, if necessary. Many of the contract agency nurses do exactly that.

    I don't even use this insurance, but would rather go elsewhere than deal with a bunch of nurses who are striking for something riduculous and losing a huge deal of income. I also do not have confidence in the union bargaining for us to get anything more in this contract. I feel that they are poor negotiators. If it were up to me, I never would have taken a strike vote. I would have asked that the nurses have an additional 3 months at the current contract to work on a new proposal. I would have spent money to hire professional negotiators to get a better contract for the nurses. There are ways to get better insurance policies and they were listed in this forum. I believe MRSMITTY came up with some good ideas.

    Many of the nurses I work with voted the contract down, not only because of the health insurance issue, but because they felt that they could push the hospital to give more and more. They felt that 3% was not enough, they wanted 3 12 hour shifts to be full time, etc. All of these issues are lost on a select group of nurses who do not feel that the healthcare they are provided is enough.

    Guess what? I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield through my husband's company. It is a good policy. Last week I went to my Gyn Doc. who is not even based at RWJ. Do you know what insurance she accepts??? NONE!!

    So imagine that. The rest of the world has health care problems too. If I had gone to RWJ ED with my problem and had RWJ's health insurance, I would have had my workup for free. How bad is that. I do understand that there are problems with this health insurance. But can you tell me that the majority of the nurses at RWJ who take this coverage have over $5,000 in bills this year, since this is the income we lost already.

    I refuse to understand why nurses cannot conceive that the hospital is a business. I cannot understand why some nurses think that they alone have made RWJ what it is today. To me that is arrogant.

    I also do not understand why nurses would feel that we were on strike for 3 weeks and did not get anything additional. How are you going to feel if we are on strike for 8 more weeks and get nothing... period.

    This strike is a crap shoot. It has been said that RWJ is not losing money since they have insurance for this type of situation. Do we? Why is it that we pay money for union dues, but have no strike insurance?

    Do not put all of your faith in the hospital or in the union. Be willing to think for yourself. Weigh out what you will actually get in the long run and never think emotionally.

    For me, I think in the vein of lost income. I have learned a lot in the past 3 weeks, about how to better manage my finances, about how to live on a limited income. I am willing to take a job with less pay with better working conditions now. I was not willing to do so in the past.

    Good luck in your decisions, I wish you the best.
    I don't agree with your statement," the hospital will never agree to hve their nurses to go to another facilities for their healthcare". They did before and any other insurance let you go to the hospital where you want to and where your physicians are affiliated with and has the privilege to go to. So, why changed it to just RWJUH? who is greedy here?
    Before they changed it to Qualcare and Aetna (both have the same limitations in benefits) I had Cigna and was loving it. I was able to go to any doctor I want to and get 100% coverage. I get to go to any hospital I want to and still get a 100% coverage until the hospital dropped Cigna and left Qualcare and Aetna.
    I don't need this insurance either. I am picketing because I dont think the nurses who give proper care to their patients are getting a good healthcare coverage. And by the way, goodluck on your job-hunting.
  4. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Here's the thing. To the extent that the hospital does have insurance for a strike, that is NOT a no cost deal for the hospital. Insurance companies do NOT just shell out millions of dollars.

    THEY are a business, also. They are probably putting enormous pressure on the hospital to settle. There are probably penalties for additional time on strike. And, the premium of future insurance will go UP to offset the actual costs of this strike.

    The insurance company will NOT lose money on this strike. They will recoup it at other places down the line.

    As far as health care plans. I have argued in this thread that a blanket right to go to their competitors is a non-starter. And I still agree with that assessment.

    However, going to other places for reasonable emergencies, providing reasonable 'out of network' coverage for insured family members away at college or on vacation, demanding adequate doctor representation in the plans and covering as 'in network' both procedures for which the hospital doesn't perform AND procedures where an available 'in network' doc isn't an option, and 'capping' out of network fees - these are all very reasonable demands.

    I never said that there was no legit concerns, just that the 'solution' being demanded - complete hospital choice - wasn't the only possible, or best, negotiation position. But, by the same token, a plan that does't include the above is NOT a plan that satisfies the concerns for which the strike was initiated.

    Voting in a rehashed version of the same plan originally rejected WOULD amount to breaking the union. The question comes down to this: how many weeks does it take to get what you want? If the same plan is voted in, for the hospital, that answer is: 4.

    Nurses ARE the backbone of a hospital. For every week of the strike, you lose a week's wages, but, the hospital loses so much more. Replacement workers DO cost, and the hospital, insurance or no, will ultimately bear the burden of that cost. Lost business = lost revenue.

    Nurses make the hospital its millions. To the extent you lose a paycheck, replacement workers or no, the cost to the hospital is exponentially more.

    If you think YOU can't bear a continuation of a strike, imagine how the hospital feels about the SAME prospect.

    How many weeks does it take to get what you need? I'll agree with one thing, if the strike wasn't about busting the union before, it is now. If the answer is 4 - for the hospital, you lose far more than healthcare benefits. You lose the strength to bargain successfully for anything else in the future. Why? Because, if I'm management, I know that I can break you, in 4 weeks or less.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Sep 15, '06
  5. by   lee1
    I wonder just how many new nurses this hospital will be able to recruit in the future looking at how they treated their own nurses and I don't mean just new grads.
  6. by   proud2banurse
    I do agree with Zashalgalka's last post as far as health care coverage is concerned. He makes a good point.

    As far as the opinion about taking 4 weeks to "break the nurses" if the contract to be voted on does not differ from the contract 3 weeks ago, it is not that simple.

    There are many nurses at RWJ who feel that this entire contract was negotiated poorly on both sides, union and hospital. The communication between the union, the hospital, and the nurses has been poor, to say the least.

    The issues have not been fully addressed or explained. If at some point during the last contract, the health care coverage changed, why wasn't this addressed previously?

    I do not use RWJ's health coverage, but one nurse did point out that Cigna was offered in the past and that the coverage was adequate. When did this change and how was it acceptable to the nurses that this transpired?

    At this point, I feel that the union and hospital representatives are not educated enough to come up with a feasible solution and as one person put it, "the wheels are spinning, but no traction is present".

    There needs to be major changes, possibly a different union, better communication to the nurses, and better negotiators for the nurses to solve these issues. I do not see that this can happen with the present administration of the hospital and the union representatives.

    A possible solution was given in this forum by MRSMITTY. However, both the hospital admin. and the union cannot think outside of the box and seem to be holding out for their own demands which are unreasonable.

    Perhaps in the next 3 years, the nurses will have time to re-group, know what the hell the issues are, become better educated, get better negotiators and be more prepared to come to the bargaining table to get a decent contract.

    This hasn't been going on for only 4 weeks, probably more like 4 months of talking and meetings between the hospital and the union.

    I am not happy with the results of this contract, but I am sure that I could be a lot less happy the longer this strike goes on. I will need to reassess the situation once we do go back to work as far as my future with RWJ.
  7. by   mekrn
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    Here's the thing. To the extent that the hospital does have insurance for a strike, that is NOT a no cost deal for the hospital. Insurance companies do NOT just shell out millions of dollars.

    THEY are a business, also. They are probably putting enormous pressure on the hospital to settle. There are probably penalties for additional time on strike. And, the premium of future insurance will go UP to offset the actual costs of this strike.

    The insurance company will NOT lose money on this strike. They will recoup it at other places down the line.

    As far as health care plans. I have argued in this thread that a blanket right to go to their competitors is a non-starter. And I still agree with that assessment.

    However, going to other places for reasonable emergencies, providing reasonable 'out of network' coverage for insured family members away at college or on vacation, demanding adequate doctor representation in the plans and covering as 'in network' both procedures for which the hospital doesn't perform AND procedures where an available 'in network' doc isn't an option, and 'capping' out of network fees - these are all very reasonable demands.

    I never said that there was no legit concerns, just that the 'solution' being demanded - complete hospital choice - wasn't the only possible, or best, negotiation position. But, by the same token, a plan that does't include the above is NOT a plan that satisfies the concerns for which the strike was initiated.

    Voting in a rehashed version of the same plan originally rejected WOULD amount to breaking the union. The question comes down to this: how many weeks does it take to get what you want? If the same plan is voted in, for the hospital, that answer is: 4.

    Nurses ARE the backbone of a hospital. For every week of the strike, you lose a week's wages, but, the hospital loses so much more. Replacement workers DO cost, and the hospital, insurance or no, will ultimately bear the burden of that cost. Lost business = lost revenue.

    Nurses make the hospital its millions. To the extent you lose a paycheck, replacement workers or no, the cost to the hospital is exponentially more.

    If you think YOU can't bear a continuation of a strike, imagine how the hospital feels about the SAME prospect.

    How many weeks does it take to get what you need? I'll agree with one thing, if the strike wasn't about busting the union before, it is now. If the answer is 4 - for the hospital, you lose far more than healthcare benefits. You lose the strength to bargain successfully for anything else in the future. Why? Because, if I'm management, I know that I can break you, in 4 weeks or less.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    :yeahthat:
  8. by   ironica01
    Quote from proud2banurse
    I do agree with Zashalgalka's last post as far as health care coverage is concerned. He makes a good point.

    As far as the opinion about taking 4 weeks to "break the nurses" if the contract to be voted on does not differ from the contract 3 weeks ago, it is not that simple.

    There are many nurses at RWJ who feel that this entire contract was negotiated poorly on both sides, union and hospital. The communication between the union, the hospital, and the nurses has been poor, to say the least.

    The issues have not been fully addressed or explained. If at some point during the last contract, the health care coverage changed, why wasn't this addressed previously?

    I do not use RWJ's health coverage, but one nurse did point out that Cigna was offered in the past and that the coverage was adequate. When did this change and how was it acceptable to the nurses that this transpired?

    At this point, I feel that the union and hospital representatives are not educated enough to come up with a feasible solution and as one person put it, "the wheels are spinning, but no traction is present".

    There needs to be major changes, possibly a different union, better communication to the nurses, and better negotiators for the nurses to solve these issues. I do not see that this can happen with the present administration of the hospital and the union representatives.

    A possible solution was given in this forum by MRSMITTY. However, both the hospital admin. and the union cannot think outside of the box and seem to be holding out for their own demands which are unreasonable.

    Perhaps in the next 3 years, the nurses will have time to re-group, know what the hell the issues are, become better educated, get better negotiators and be more prepared to come to the bargaining table to get a decent contract.

    This hasn't been going on for only 4 weeks, probably more like 4 months of talking and meetings between the hospital and the union.

    I am not happy with the results of this contract, but I am sure that I could be a lot less happy the longer this strike goes on. I will need to reassess the situation once we do go back to work as far as my future with RWJ.
    the union members worked so hard to put this proposal/contract together. they started asking members their concerns way back in February and met regularly to look into what is the most important amongst members.
    and it is our healthcare. they tried to get a higher increase in wages but we, the members believe healthcare is the top priority since this affects our families as well.
    believe me, the union stewards even come at night to do their mini talks with members and answered questions.
    they negotitated in good faith but the hospital didn't. We agreed to go out to strike on August 4 but the hospital using Gov. Corzine's power held it up to August 24 saying they want to negotiate. when they were on the negotiating table, there was no change n the proposal, the hospital vehemently refused our proposal. this alone is just the hospital's delaying tactic so as to move our strike because they were not prepared. they thought we will accept their offer with open arms. now, they re-phrased and added some in the same contract which most of the nurses won't even benefit on it. we'll see because they don't think we're not smart enough to notice the difference. they think we will take any crumbs that's being offered.
  9. by   mrsmitty
    Quote from ironica01
    the union members worked so hard to put this proposal/contract together. they started asking members their concerns way back in February and met regularly to look into what is the most important amongst members.
    and it is our healthcare. they tried to get a higher increase in wages but we, the members believe healthcare is the top priority since this affects our families as well.
    believe me, the union stewards even come at night to do their mini talks with members and answered questions.
    they negotitated in good faith but the hospital didn't. We agreed to go out to strike on August 4 but the hospital using Gov. Corzine's power held it up to August 24 saying they want to negotiate. when they were on the negotiating table, there was no change n the proposal, the hospital vehemently refused our proposal. this alone is just the hospital's delaying tactic so as to move our strike because they were not prepared. they thought we will accept their offer with open arms. now, they re-phrased and added some in the same contract which most of the nurses won't even benefit on it. we'll see because they don't think we're not smart enough to notice the difference. they think we will take any crumbs that's being offered.
    Yes there was a lot of work that went into these negotiations, but to be an effective negotiator you must understand your opposition. I question if that was the case here, on either side. There certainly was miscommunication and there still seems to be.

    When I saw the offer on the union web site, I said to my wife that there was no change from the offer you last voted on. The union leadership says there are changes, the hospital says there are none.

    The hospital obviously feels that many nurses did not understand their final offer. I don't know if that is the case or not, but it doesn't seem that leadership did if they think this represents a change.

    You are incorrect in thinking that the hospital did not change their offer after you took the first strike vote. They came back with this offer. That was nearly 5 weeks ago.

    I don't think the hospital was trying to bust the union as some people do. I do think that it will probably become about that if you vote this proposal down, either because nurses will start to cross or because those that vote for the contract will get work elsewhere leaving the no voters to continue to strike. The hospital will wait it out.
    Last edit by mrsmitty on Sep 16, '06
  10. by   benfanrn
    Greetings to all, I have been reading these posts for several days now and I 100% agree with Timothy. We cannot agree to this SAME contract now, when it was not acceptable before. Nothing has changed. We will lose our respect and dignity and we will only prove to the hospital that we are weak if we vote yes. Let's think about the big picture here.....every 3 years when we renew our contract we will be at their mercy. They will know that we will eventually cave. I do not agree with voting yes to a contract that I am not happy with at this time. The hospital is losing money everyday that we are out here. If they see that we are going to stay united and still fight for what we believe to be fair and just, they will take us more seriously, and perhaps, at the next meeting, they will show us a change in the contract and it will be what we asked for....ar at least closer to what we asked for.
    I am going to vote no. I ask that you vote with your heart and think about the big picture and what this vote will mean to the hospital. We mean business and if we vote yes, everyday we stood out in the rain, losing money, will be in vain. I for one, do not want it to mean nothing.


    In solidarity,
    a RWJUH RN
  11. by   pickledpepperRN
    It is amazing that management trusts registered nurses to provide around the clock healthcare for the sickest people; yet does not think we can understand their proposals.
  12. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from spacenurse
    It is amazing that management trusts registered nurses to provide around the clock healthcare for the sickest people; yet does not think we can understand their proposals.
    It's not that they don't think you'll understand. It's that CLAIMING differences in the proposals offers you a pretext to vote yes. They aren't hoping you're too stupid to understand this as much as they're hoping you're too desperate to care.

    And the union management? Didn't they accept this before only to have it voted down? Why on earth would your negotiators bother to present this to you AGAIN? Did THEY not get the message from THEIR employers: the nurses?

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Sep 16, '06
  13. by   mrsmitty
    You got the hospital to move with your first strike vote. You got the package they put out now and you voted down. You're going to vote it down again and show them. Excellent move! You show them!

    You are not going to get what you want in terms of choice as Timothy has pointed out in his posts.

    Since he says coverage elsewhere is "a non starter" why do you think he is right about staying out longer?

    RWJ is the insurer through ownership of Qualcare. You are not going to get what you are looking for with the present approach.

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