With a contract set to expire imminently, California's largest nurses union and representatives from the University of California's five teaching hospitals remained at odds. For months, the two sides have disagreed on staffing levels, mandatory overtime shifts, and a longstanding merit pay system.
Sacramento Bee, May 1, 2002
"Under the medical center's merit pay system, a nurse hired in 1973 might earn $24.24 per hour, while a nurse who started just a year ago could make an hourly wage of $26.69."
May 6, '02
I WAS there LLOONNGGG before it was unionized--and if this somehow messes up my retirement, I will be one VERY UNHAPPY PERSON. I'm not scared--just pi**ed and disheartened. Maybe that's scared in other language. Anyway, I would just really like for the University to act like human beings for a change, and play nice. Hmmm, THAT sounds like it's not gonna happen. BUMMER!
Can't retire right now, I'm just starting the paperwork to go out July 1st. The system can't work any faster than that.
As far as pay based on longevity vs merit--wouldn't bother me too much right now.
But, realistically, it ought to be both! Right now you have to walk on water to get an eval that qualifies for a raise--lots of committee stuff, projects--mostly on your own time, coming in on your day off, etc. Not to mention all the certifications and competencies we have to maintain. I think if you can maintain a satisfactory, you ought to get something!? besides a "do better next year". IMHO
Last edit by prmenrs on May 6, '02
May 6, '02
<<According to the "LA Times" the union wants pay based on longevity not merit. If that is true a nurse with the most years on the job within the system would make the most $$$'s; whether or not he/she was clinically skilled or had a good evaluation. What do you think of that?>>
Many states, facilities, and nursing units require a certain amount of continuing education annually to keep the RN up to date, and even in those that dont, each year brings the RN more experience and knowledge - and that benefits the facility & the pts. This is something to be recognized and valued. The way to do that is by compensating for it financially.
Havent we all complained when a unit is staffed with just new nurses? If experience & longevity were not something to be valued, no one would think there was anything wrong with having an entire staff of new inexperienced nurses, would they?
If the nurse is not "clinically skilled", she has no business being there. If she didnt have a "good evaluation" (Which, btw, is open to interpretation & some managers arbitrary opinion), the manager can take a course of action to remedy that.
The employee with the longevity & experience earning more than a newer, less experienced employee is the way it should be - as it is in every union - theyve "paid their dues" - literally - and btw, thats where that term comes from. Their experience & longevity is valuable & beneficial to the pts & facility.
In a merit raise system, an exceptional nurse does not get what shes worth because the hospital has already decided its not giving raises higher than a certain amount - no matter what youve really merited anyway. (theres a whole thread about this here).
How disrespected does a good nurse feel when she has been working successfully in a facility for years and the NM's pet who has been there much less than she has is earning more? In a merit raise system, I may "merit" less of a raise than another nurse because I have 3 kids, other responsibilities outside of work, and cant work overtime, cant change my schedule, and cant be available at the drop of a hat & another nurse may be single, have no other obligations, and never say no to overtime or anything else they ask of her. In the managers opinion, that nurse may "merit" a higher raise than me - even if we were equal in the work we do. Is it fair if I was not compensated for my worth because of my life outside of work, even if I was just as a good a nurse as the other nurse??
The nurse with the longevity and more experience should be compensated for both. If she isnt doing her job, the hospital has a disciplinary system outlined in their Human Resources Manual to deal with that, and if she doesnt improve after being informally warned, they can take progressive action. The rest of the nurses should not be penalized with inadequate compensation of their worth just for that person. Longevity & experience should be compensated for.
RNs in Nyack, NY last year stayed out on a famous strike for 6 months, partly to prevent the hospital from instituting a merit raise system. The RNs won. Their experience/longevity raise system remains intact. Teachers in NYC have been fighting the city for months & are preparing to strike over the same issue.
There are other ways to reward an exceptional employee for a job well done than by ignoring her longevity, experience and the valuable benefits they bring to the facility.
Last edit by -jt on May 7, '02