Lowering Nursing Salaries - page 6

Have any of you got news of them lowering salaries due to the shortage? There had been talk of the new hires salaries being lowered.... Read More

  1. by   Sheri257
    Quote from DusktilDawn
    Also union stewards at the hospital were not allowed to conduct union related business during their working hours, meaning that if an employee wanted to discuss filing a grievance or talk to a union steward, it would have to be when the union steward was off the hospital's clock.
    Where was this? Was it in Canada? I'm confused. We just had a decision in California where a judge concluded that it's a violation of U.S. federal law to prohibit union discussions in the workplace. While news reports on the decision don't specifically mention whether discussions with union stewards were at issue in the case, the judge did order the hospital to revoke a memo prohibiting union discussions in the job. The judge said union discussions were ok as long as they weren't within earshot of patients.

    http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2005...1505185425.txt

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 29, '05
  2. by   DusktilDawn
    Quote from lizz
    Where was this? Was it in Canada? I'm confused. We just had a decision in California where a judge concluded that it's a violation of U.S. federal law to prohibit union discussions in the workplace. While news reports on the decision don't specifically mention whether discussions with union stewards were at issue in the case, the judge did order the hospital to revoke a memo prohibiting union discussions in the job. The judge said union discussions were ok as long as they weren't within earshot of patients.

    http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2005...1505185425.txt

    Yes, this was in Canada. Nurses are unionized here. It wasn't so much not being allowed to talk to a union steward, I mean I could ask a union steward a question on the job or even have a brief discussion with one, it was more that they were not allowed to conduct union business/agendas. Because the union stewards were also there as regular employees (meaning they had scheduled work hours) rather than just there in the capacity of union steward only, it did impede their ability to represent/witness employees when dealing with management. Basically if you wanted to contact a union steward it wasn't always easy, it wasn't like you could call the unit they were on and they would be available to talk.
    This is so unfortunate. Why is this?

    I don't know what it's like for RN's in other states or in Canada. But in California, it's not that hard for an RN to strike because they can pick up work elsewhere the next day if they want to.

    Part of the reason for this is the ratio law, which was pushed through the legislature by unions, has created a huge demand for RN's beyond the overall nursing shortage. So going on strike isn't that much of a hardship because you can pick up another paycheck easily.

    Is this what prevents RN's elsewhere from uniting in this way? Or, are there other factors?
    I can only give an opinion as to why it was that way where I worked. Basically people were very apathetic towards their own union. They essentially felt that it was doing nothing for them. The truth was alot of people violated their own contracts, meaning they went against their own contract, for instance, in regards to OT and hours between shifts, they would waive their rights to OT pay and work for straight time. So someone could be denied OT because management could find someone willing to work for straight time. If it suited the individual to this, that is what they did. When employees don't abide by their own collective agreements, this hurts everyone, including themselves, yet people couldn't see or grasp this. Far too many were also not aware of their rights under their collective agreement either, that was in large part the union's fault because rarely could you get a copy of it when it was requested.

    I believe a hugh problem (IMO) with nurses in general is that:
    1. They don't know what their SBON regulations are. A lot of these regulations are there to protect us.
    2. They don't know what the laws are in regards to their practice. There is a lot in legislature that is designed to protect nurses. This includes labor laws.
    3. If they have a union, they don't educate themselves in regards to their collective agreement.
    I can't emphasize enough that knowledge is power. Also as I stated previously:
    4. Nurses do not unite together to present a unified front in order to effect change. We will all complain about the same things, yet why is it so difficult to band together for a greater cause, like a safe workplace or better benefits? There almost seems to be a fear of penalization. I also think lack of knowledge in regards to 1 & 2 also contributes to this. If you don't know your legal rights, how can you assert them?

    In regards to unions, I believe (again my own opinion) that when you have a situation (like health care workers) where workers are not legally allowed to strike because they are deemed essential to the public, it takes alot of punch away from the union. It does. Basically when you have nurses "wildcat" striking, it's because they felt they had no other choice, since the hospital wasn't willing to bargain in good faith.

    A lot of nurses don't feel they should strike because it places patients in danger. The thing is employers are placing patients in danger through things like mandatory OT, no relief for breaks during a shift, unsafe staffing levels, unsafe working environment/conditions. Nurses striking also doesn't usually play too well with the public, we tend to be viewed as witholding care thus endangering patients all because of money.

    Actually, that's exactly what 9,000 University of California union RNs did. Although they didn't actually go on strike. They threatened to strike in June after their contract expired in April. While the courts did issue a restraining order that prevented the strike, and the courts subsequently ruled that a strike would be illegal, the preparations for the strike still cost UoC $9 million.
    The threat wasn't an idle one by these members, they were serious, which is why UOC negotiated with them. They were willing to violate a court order and walk off the job if necessary. They basically put their employer in a position where they had to bargain.
  3. by   Sheri257
    Quote from DusktilDawn
    A lot of nurses don't feel they should strike because it places patients in danger. The thing is employers are placing patients in danger through things like mandatory OT, no relief for breaks during a shift, unsafe staffing levels, unsafe working environment/conditions.
    I totally agree with this. I mean ... nurses "strike" every day, really, when they quit jobs because of these lousy working conditions. That doesn't exactly help patients either. But an organized strike, which hopefully delivers improved working conditions, does help patients more in the long run. But I guess people are short sighted and don't tend to view the potential long term benefits because it is so difficult to get those initial benefits. But it's the only way things really change.

    Quote from DusktilDawn
    Nurses striking also doesn't usually play too well with the public, we tend to be viewed as witholding care thus endangering patients all because of money.
    I don't agree with this. The California nurses' unions have had a lot of major strikes in recent years but, I don't remember hearing about any public backlash with any of the strikes or, even, the threatened UoC strike. Occasionally you do hear conservative newspaper columnists or radio talk show hosts criticize the unions but, the criticism doesn't seem to gain much traction with the public. Afterall, the public just voted down a major anti-union proposition sponsored by Schwarzenegger.

    When Schwarzenegger started attacking ratios, and CNA organized their campaign against him, his approval rating was somewhere around 60 percent. Now it's down to 30 percent. Granted, the teachers, police and firemen unions jumped on the bandwagon ... and that certainly helped ... but the nurses' union was way out front in attacking the governor long before the other unions did, and the public generally agreed with them.

    Schwarzenegger and the hospitals were making all these claims that ratios were endangering patient care, and that they couldn't possibly hire enough nurses to meet ratios. They claimed that patients were dying, etc. and that it was the unions' fault. They even ran a bunch of ads on TV and on the radio with "nurses" saying the attempted ratio rollback was good thing.

    But the public didn't buy it. Now ... Schwarzenegger is trying to make nice with the nurses' unions, of course, since his approval rating is in the toilet.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 29, '05
  4. by   kadokin
    Nice post dusktildawn. It is good to get a comprehensive opinion from someone who has been there.
  5. by   hipab4hands
    Other factors. I've been interviewing with non union employers. They brag about how happy their employees are without an union. When I talk with the employees, what they tell me, is that management starts rumors about lay offs/fiscal problems/ etc., that will occur if the staff unionizes. Instead they make promises about pay raises/benefits, they'll give, if staff remains non union. However, those promises are not fulfilled and employees start to leave for other facilities.
  6. by   Sheri257
    Quote from DusktilDawn
    The threat wasn't an idle one by these members, they were serious, which is why UOC negotiated with them. They were willing to violate a court order and walk off the job if necessary. They basically put their employer in a position where they had to bargain.
    Just FYI: I don't think the RN's were willing to violate a court order. The temporary restraining order came down just a day before the strike was supposed to take place. It was a last minute deal.

    But, the reason I think management took it seriously was that 95 percent of the membership voted in favor of the strike. There wasn't much dissention within the ranks. And, since UoC didn't know they were going to get the restraining order until the very last minute, they had to pay as much as $1,000 a day to bring in scabs from all over the country, which is why it cost them $9 million.

    So that's probably why they took it so seriously. Even if the RN's couldn't legally strike right away, it was clear that the vast majority of the membership would strike eventually, and that it would be very expensive. Especially since this was only a one day strike, but it had already cost them millions. A prolonged strike of any kind would have been much worse for them.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 30, '05
  7. by   lhall14
    I wanted to know if anyone knew the starting salary for Director of Nurses postion in Georgia.
  8. by   lhall14
    :angel2: I was thinking of moving to Ga and wanted to know if anyone knew what the start salary was on Director of Nurses. and if the pay for nurses is better there than here.
  9. by   casper1
    Nurses are the backbone of any hospital system. In order to insure superior medical care you need a highly educated, committed staff. Higher pay is one way to insure this.

    I worry though that this may not be seen as a priority in the future. The majority of the patients we see are elderly or poor. They are covered by medicare or medicaid. Some would see them as a burden on the healthcare system. Their care is expensive. They are unable to finacially contribute to society due to failing health. I worry that those in power will not see their benefit to society and consider them a drain. They will not make their care and well being a priority. They will feel that the burden they place on society is to great.

    We hear everyday how the present social security system is destined to go into the red in a few short years. The present medicare system is in severe jeapordy. I worry that are society will devalue the contribution to society that many hard working but poor or old citizens have made.
  10. by   kadokin
    Does anyone know what argument Arnold & co used to claim mandatory ratios put pts at risk? I would seriously like to read THAT.
  11. by   Sheri257
    Quote from kadokin
    Does anyone know what argument Arnold & co used to claim mandatory ratios put pts at risk? I would seriously like to read THAT.
    http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg...AG2L9MKQO1.DTL

    "This is a step in the right direction,'' said Jan Emerson, spokeswoman for the hospital organization.

    Since the ratio law went into effect in January, Emerson noted, eight hospitals -- including San Jose Medical Center -- had either closed or announced plans to shut down, and four other hospitals shut down units, citing difficulties complying with the law.


    What they don't point out is that the closures mostly involved emergency rooms, which had shut down because they were flooded with illegal immigrants who don't have insurance. I'm sure the ratios didn't help, but illegal immigrants were the main problem. And most of the facilities that did close were having financial problems before the ratios took effect. Maybe the ratio law was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak, but it's not clear whether these facilities were going to be around for long anyway.

    Kaiser, by contrast, broke off from the California Hospital Association and implemented ratios before the law took effect in 2003. And they still managed to make $1 billion that year. They now exceed the ratio requirements with four patients per RN instead of the required five. So ... it's all relative.

    This article talks about the ads that were run at the time:

    http://www.californiahealthline.org/...&ClassCD=CL120

    "The ad features a registered nurse thanking Schwarzenegger "on behalf of nurses, doctors and other caregivers who treat patients every day" for delaying the change. The ad also shows Mark Bell, director of emergency services for Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center, saying that the "rigid staffing regulations" that Schwarzenegger delayed would have endangered medical care. The ad is scheduled to air for about two weeks."

    In another press release from the California Hospital Association, they were citing the flu season as a reason to delay ratios:

    "The implementation of the nurse ratio law also is coming at the height of what portends to be one of the worse flu seasons in years. Public health officials and even some lawmakers are expressing concerns about the ability of hospitals to meet these new staffing requirements in the face of this severe flu season."

    There's a bunch of other stuff you can read with a google search. Unfortunately, the California Hospital Association has deleted a lot of their ratio press releases from their website but, you still find them with google cached versions. But the google cache links are just too long for me to post in this forum.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 30, '05
  12. by   kadokin
    Quote from lizz
    http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg...AG2L9MKQO1.DTL

    "This is a step in the right direction,'' said Jan Emerson, spokeswoman for the hospital organization.

    Since the ratio law went into effect in January, Emerson noted, eight hospitals -- including San Jose Medical Center -- had either closed or announced plans to shut down, and four other hospitals shut down units, citing difficulties complying with the law.


    What they don't point out is that the closures mostly involved emergency rooms, which had shut down because they were flooded with illegal immigrants who don't have insurance. I'm sure the ratios didn't help, but illegal immigrants were the main problem. And most of the facilities that did close were having financial problems before the ratios took effect. Maybe the ratio law was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak, but it's not clear whether these facilities were going to be around for long anyway.

    Kaiser, by contrast, broke off from the California Hospital Association and implemented ratios before the law took effect in 2003. And they still managed to make $1 billion that year. They now exceed the ratio requirements with four patients per RN instead of the required five. So ... it's all relative.

    This article talks about the ads that were run at the time:

    http://www.californiahealthline.org/...&ClassCD=CL120

    "The ad features a registered nurse thanking Schwarzenegger "on behalf of nurses, doctors and other caregivers who treat patients every day" for delaying the change. The ad also shows Mark Bell, director of emergency services for Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center, saying that the "rigid staffing regulations" that Schwarzenegger delayed would have endangered medical care. The ad is scheduled to air for about two weeks."

    In another press release from the California Hospital Association, they were citing the flu season as a reason to delay ratios:

    "The implementation of the nurse ratio law also is coming at the height of what portends to be one of the worse flu seasons in years. Public health officials and even some lawmakers are expressing concerns about the ability of hospitals to meet these new staffing requirements in the face of this severe flu season."

    There's a bunch of other stuff you can read with a google search. Unforunately, the California Hospital Association has deleted a lot of their ratio press releases from their website but, you still find them with google cached versions. But the google cache links are just too long for me to post in this forum.

    If they can't safely staff, they shouldn't BE OPEN. This is a natural consequence of the lasseiz-faire (sp?) philosophy of economics. If you can't compete in the marketplace, you go under. Right? Corporate welfare, anyone?
  13. by   AnneDNP
    The Iowa Hospital association comes up with some pretty weird reasons for not wanting staffing ratios legislation. One of them is that most Iowa hospitals are already at the California levels, what they fail to say is that most hospital in Iowa count all direct care givers in their ratios, not just RNs, some even count unit clerks.
    They also feel that a law would be too restricive, failing to mention that the California are minimum ratios, not maximums. Of course they cite all the hospitals closing in California.
    The really sad part is that they are able to convince some nurses that it would infringe on their right to have a say in staffing, since ratios don't take into account acuity. As if most nurses really have a say!
    We have a lot of education to do in the rest of the US regarding how minimum staffing ratios really work, and how they bring back nurses to the bedside.

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