Union asks nurses at the University of Massachusetts to OK strike

  1. union asks nurses at the university of massachusetts to ok strike

    ...the union said its members are angry over the hospital's demands for concessions on pensions, health benefits, wages, paid days off, and layoff language. negotiations began in january and little progress has been made, though the contract expired in april.

    ``right now the nurses at umass medical center are completely fed up with the way they are being treated by management," said kathy logan , a nurse and chairman of the massachusetts nurses association bargaining unit at the hospital...

    ..the hospital says concessions, including freezing pensions for current nurses and eliminating them for future hires, will make it more competitive ...

    ...the union said the hospital is financially sound, pointing to a 38 percent raise chief executive john o'brien received last year, bringing his total 2005 compensation to $1.27 million...

    it also wants to reduce sick days from 15 to 8, and cut annual step-wage increases from 6.8 percent to 4 percent. the hospital is proposing a 1 percent overall raise, which means most nurses would receive 5 percent annual raises for the life of the contract.

    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Oct 2, '06
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  2. 87 Comments

  3. by   ZASHAGALKA
    "It says it wants to bring the nurses at the University Campus more in line with other employees in the UMass Memorial system, which has 12,000 employees at hospitals throughout the region."

    This is the ABSOLUTE key phrase in the link above. The hospital in question has 850 nurses and merged with the larger system that includes 12,000 employees and the system wants to make things fair by bringing these nurses 'in line' with its other employees.

    OH, I totally agree. This should be done, TODAY!

    But, instead of LOWERING the standards for 850 nurses, the solution seems obvious to me and that would be to RAISE the standard for 11,150 employees.

    That DOES seem only fair.

    The most obvious problem that creates the need to reduce the current 6.8% annual wage increase for nurses is that it limited the annual wage increase for the CEO to ONLY 38% last year. That has to be fixed, at ONCE! I mean, seriously, bonus time is only a few months away! After all, a hospital just couldn't exist without its CEO. And really, what kind of quality CEO could you possibly recruit and retain at the measly salary of 1.27 million? You nurses just don't understand the REAL issues at stake.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Oct 2, '06
  4. by   oneLoneNurse
    this problem is very similar to the situation at temple university healthcare systems as well. the system has several unions. the smaller hospitals usually settle for less. two smaller hospitals' unions just settled.

  5. by   banditrn
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    "It says it wants to bring the nurses at the University Campus more in line with other employees in the UMass Memorial system, which has 12,000 employees at hospitals throughout the region."

    This is the ABSOLUTE key phrase in the link above. The hospital in question has 850 nurses and merged with the larger system that includes 12,000 employees and the system wants to make things fair by bringing these nurses 'in line' with its other employees.

    OH, I totally agree. This should be done, TODAY!

    But, instead of LOWERING the standards for 850 nurses, the solution seems obvious to me and that would be to RAISE the standard for 11,150 employees.

    That DOES seem only fair.

    The most obvious problem that creates the need to reduce the current 6.8% annual wage increase for nurses is that it limited the annual wage increase for the CEO to ONLY 38% last year. That has to be fixed, at ONCE! I mean, seriously, bonus time is only a few months away! After all, a hospital just couldn't exist without its CEO. And really, what kind of quality CEO could you possibly recruit and retain at the measly salary of 1.27 million? You nurses just don't understand the REAL issues at stake.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Timothy - I am assuming your last paragraph was very 'tongue in cheek'!! :wink2: :wink2:

    I guess being a CEO 'is' a very hard job, but, really! I have no idea what the salary was for the CEO where I used to work, but I do know that he was furnished with a Lincoln Navigator.
  6. by   Ezra73
    a strike of any kind by a healthcare provider (actually, its usually only RNs) disgusts me. it puts patients at risk...PERIOD.

    i could care less if a CEO makes over a million bucks. why not just be angry at every politician that uses our tax dollars to eat the finest foods, drink the finest wines, and travel in luxury jets and/or limos. being a CEO has its perks politically, socially, and with great monetary rewards. THIS IS WITH EVERY INSTITUTION IN EVERY INDUSTRY.

    the bottom-line is that quality RNs will walk out the door and leave patients at risk.

    almost every union RN here will blast me with some justification for striking, but it will fall on deaf ears because no matter how you attempt to explain yourself, the fact is that you are leaving the bed side. By taking your skills to the picket lines you are doing nothing more than putting patient's lives in danger. you will not be there and you will leave a nurse with less experience to do your job. then, you will blame the institution and/or CEO for this to cover up the fact that you just are sore that your own greed was not met with open arms by the employer that puts food on your table.
  7. by   JBudd
    Quote from Ezra73
    a strike of any kind by a healthcare provider (actually, its usually only RNs) disgusts me. it puts patients at risk...PERIOD.

    the fact is that you are leaving the bed side. By taking your skills to the picket lines you are doing nothing more than putting patient's lives in danger. you will not be there and you will leave a nurse with less experience to do your job. then, you will blame the institution and/or CEO for this to cover up the fact that you just are sore that your own greed was not met with open arms by the employer that puts food on your table.
    Yeah, I left the bedside. I wasn't given enough people to care for the people in those beds. I did not put those people in danger, the administration did right up to the strike. No, somebody with less experience DID NOT take over. That is because we obeyed the law, gave our 10 day notice, and the administration CLEARED OUT the hospital. There were only 7 beds open, as well as the ER. When we went back in, we filled up again, with adequate care, staff and compensation, in a much safer place BECAUSE THE NURSES INSISTED ON IT. It was not greed, no matter what you say. Our pay remained less than the average in a nearby city (that has a lower cost of living). But conditions improved, significantly. My employer does not put food on my table, my labor does. Our entire city came out and supported us, from donuts to lunch wagons being sent to us.
  8. by   nuangel1
    :yeahthat:
    Quote from JBudd
    Yeah, I left the bedside. I wasn't given enough people to care for the people in those beds. I did not put those people in danger, the administration did right up to the strike. No, somebody with less experience DID NOT take over. That is because we obeyed the law, gave our 10 day notice, and the administration CLEARED OUT the hospital. There were only 7 beds open, as well as the ER. When we went back in, we filled up again, with adequate care, staff and compensation, in a much safer place BECAUSE THE NURSES INSISTED ON IT. It was not greed, no matter what you say. Our pay remained less than the average in a nearby city (that has a lower cost of living). But conditions improved, significantly. My employer does not put food on my table, my labor does. Our entire city came out and supported us, from donuts to lunch wagons being sent to us.
    i could not have said it better
  9. by   nuangel1
    :angryfire
    Quote from Ezra73
    a strike of any kind by a healthcare provider (actually, its usually only RNs) disgusts me. it puts patients at risk...PERIOD.

    i could care less if a CEO makes over a million bucks. why not just be angry at every politician that uses our tax dollars to eat the finest foods, drink the finest wines, and travel in luxury jets and/or limos. being a CEO has its perks politically, socially, and with great monetary rewards. THIS IS WITH EVERY INSTITUTION IN EVERY INDUSTRY.

    the bottom-line is that quality RNs will walk out the door and leave patients at risk.

    almost every union RN here will blast me with some justification for striking, but it will fall on deaf ears because no matter how you attempt to explain yourself, the fact is that you are leaving the bed side. By taking your skills to the picket lines you are doing nothing more than putting patient's lives in danger. you will not be there and you will leave a nurse with less experience to do your job. then, you will blame the institution and/or CEO for this to cover up the fact that you just are sore that your own greed was not met with open arms by the employer that puts food on your table.


    you don't know what you are talking about.1st as a rn in a union the union gives at least 10 days notice.the union then holds a vote the vote must be 80% in order for the strike to take place.and striking is usually done as a last resort .it isnot about the nurses greed and it is not the hospital that puts food on the table it is my sweat and hard work that has .i have earned it.the hospital has plenty of time to make arrangements ie move pts hire other nurses use perdiems who are not usually unionized etc to care for pts.the money i earn is what i live own for housing food health meds etc .
  10. by   Sheri257
    Quote from Ezra73
    almost every union RN here will blast me with some justification for striking, but it will fall on deaf ears because no matter how you attempt to explain yourself, the fact is that you are leaving the bed side. By taking your skills to the picket lines you are doing nothing more than putting patient's lives in danger. you will not be there and you will leave a nurse with less experience to do your job. then, you will blame the institution and/or CEO for this to cover up the fact that you just are sore that your own greed was not met with open arms by the employer that puts food on your table.
    There are 500,000 licensed RN's nationwide who have already left the bedside and don't work in this profession anymore because of low pay and lousy working conditions. They've already gone out on strike ... they just didn't do it in an organized fashion.

    Are you also going to criticize half a million RN's for putting patient's lives in danger? Or, are we going to wake up to the real problem that's causing the nursing shortage.

    In an ideal world, no one would ever have to strike. But, even with the nursing shortage, management is hell bent on screwing RN's out of decent pay and benefits. Nothing else works but a strike.

    If wanting a decent pension and not wanting to be destitute in old age makes RN's greedy ... so be it. We are we supposed to do ... work until we literally drop dead in old age so some corporate CEO can make millions more?

    And you think management isn't greedy? You think the cuts in pension and other RN benefits is going to patient care? :chuckle

    Of course not. It's going to go to management bonuses and hospital profits ... like that 38 percent raise the CEO got.

    If RN's are greedy by going out on strike then, I say ... hell yes ... greed is a very good thing. RN's have to stand up for themselves and not take this crap from management anymore.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Oct 24, '06
  11. by   mekrn
    Quote from JBudd
    Yeah, I left the bedside. I wasn't given enough people to care for the people in those beds. I did not put those people in danger, the administration did right up to the strike. No, somebody with less experience DID NOT take over. That is because we obeyed the law, gave our 10 day notice, and the administration CLEARED OUT the hospital. There were only 7 beds open, as well as the ER. When we went back in, we filled up again, with adequate care, staff and compensation, in a much safer place BECAUSE THE NURSES INSISTED ON IT. It was not greed, no matter what you say. Our pay remained less than the average in a nearby city (that has a lower cost of living). But conditions improved, significantly. My employer does not put food on my table, my labor does. Our entire city came out and supported us, from donuts to lunch wagons being sent to us.
    At least your hospital did that. For our recent strike, although we had given a 10 day notice and THEN a 10 day EXTENSION, they chose to roll the dice on their belief that 500 nurses would cross the picket line on the first day. The census was as high as ever when we walked out, including the NICU. When the hospital found that only 30 of 1100 nurse actually crossed, it was a mad dash to transfer patients out. You are so right that your employer DOES NOT put food on your table. NURSES, the backbone of the hospital, provide the food (and the Lexus, and the Mercedes) for the EMPLOYER!
  12. by   Ezra73
    Quote from lizz
    There are 500,000 licensed RN's nationwide who have already left the bedside and don't work in this profession anymore because of low pay and lousy working conditions. They've already gone out on strike ... they just didn't do it in an organized fashion.

    Are you also going to criticize half a million RN's for putting patient's lives in danger? Or, are we going to wake up to the real problem that's causing the nursing shortage.

    In an ideal world, no one would ever have to strike. But, even with the nursing shortage, management is hell bent on screwing RN's out of decent pay and benefits. Nothing else works but a strike.

    If wanting a decent pension and not wanting to be destitute in old age makes RN's greedy ... so be it. We are we supposed to do ... work until we literally drop dead in old age so some corporate CEO can make millions more?

    And you think management isn't greedy? You think the cuts in pension and other RN benefits is going to patient care? :chuckle

    Of course not. It's going to go to management bonuses and hospital profits ... like that 38 percent raise the CEO got.

    If RN's are greedy by going out on strike then, I say ... hell yes ... greed is a very good thing. RN's have to stand up for themselves and not take this crap from management anymore.

    yes, i am going to criticize those nurses. i sometimes put in 18hr days caring for 20+ patients on my own. i have a ton of responsibility and i have to be sharp even when i have not had a bite of food in 12+ hrs. i am not afforded the luxury of breaks...i take a break in the elevator. i am EXPECTED to stay hours after my shift is over if THE PATEINT NEEDS ME.

    i chose this profession knowing that sacrifices might have to be made. i accept this and i know that when all is said and done, i have made a difference.

    you are absolutely delusional if you think management is screwing RNs over with regards to salary. please tell me how many other jobs out there allow a person to go to school 2 years longer than high school and make over $60K/yr soon after graduation!!! RNs make a lot of money...especially in the northeast.

    RNs striking over salary is, sadly, an example of what our society has become nowadays. people want MORE for LESS. if you're fat, just take a pill...oh my if you have to actually work-out at the gym 5 days a week. we need to stop this ME ME ME attitude and get back to the basics when earning a dollar really means EARNING A DOLLAR.

    there are aspects of my job that i hate...but i do it. why? cause its my job and i have a responsibility to my employer and ultimately my patients. if i don't get a break because my patient crashes then i don't complain because its my responsibility to make sure i am THERE to solve the problem. i see RNs complain all day long because they need a break. boo hoo. you're not a cashier at the local grocery store, you're responsible for people's lives. deal with it or leave the profession.

    hospital profits? duh! do you think we live in a utopian society where money just falls off trees? even hospitals have to make a profit to remain open. the Govt (well, our tax dollars) only goes so far. management/administration accounts for a very small portion of a hospital's actual expenditures, and not all of them make six figures.

    the fact is, a union is a very powerful entity that can cripple a hospital. we all know that a hospital can function without phlebotomists, CNAs, and other various techs. however, RNs are NEEDED. this demand puts a union in a position where it can place a strong-hold over management. when the demands are unrealistic to hospital management, well, a strike can occur. now what? patients suffer and the hospital is crippled. people think less of the institution and avoid going there. patients get scared. all is bad.

    in the end, the hospital just might give in to some/all of the demands simply to restore order and return to normal function...i hope you are all happy.
  13. by   Sheri257
    Quote from Ezra73
    you are absolutely delusional if you think management is screwing RNs over with regards to salary. please tell me how many other jobs out there allow a person to go to school 2 years longer than high school and make over $60K/yr soon after graduation!!! RNs make a lot of money...especially in the northeast.
    Sorry but, you're giving yourself away here.

    Real RN's know that an ADN program knows it takes a hellava lot more than two years to get through nursing school.

    It's called pre-reqs ... and they can easily take another two years ... for a total of four years.

    A real RN would know this.

    So, what is your job ... really? People might like to know before you lecture them about how to do their jobs.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Oct 25, '06
  14. by   Ezra73
    Quote from lizz
    A real RN would know this.

    So, what is your job ... really? People might like to know before you lecture them about how to do their jobs.

    :typing
    a REAL nurse would have the courage to be at the bedside where he or she belongs.

    i meant BSN vs non BSN (you don't need 2 yrs of pre-reqs).

    obviously, you didn't think to look at my profile if you're asking what i do.

    i'm not here to start trouble. obviously, most will see it that way with my post count. i am so tired of RNs complaining. its becoming embarrasing to the nursing profession. do you even realize how much respect you're losing? residents, mid-level providers, and others shake their heads in disgust daily over striking nurses. not just over striking nurses. the daily griping and such that is so obvious on the wards and in the units.

    DISCLAIMER: I KNOW A LOT OF RNs THAT ARE REALLY GOOD. THEY WORK HARD. THEY SELDOM COMPLAIN (I MEAN, WE ALL DO COMPLAIN A BIT FROM TIME TO TIME). THEY DON'T BICKER OVER LITTLE THINGS. THEY ARE AGAINST UNIONS IN GENERAL. THEY DON'T BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE TO PICKET. THEY'RE NOT AFRAID TO WORK DURING A STRIKE BECAUSE THEY DON'T CARE IF A BUNCH OF OTHER RNs WILL BE MEAN TO THEM (WHICH IS CHILD-ISH MIND YOU).

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