DEBRIDE the SCABS - page 6

Replacement nurses arrive to prepare for possible strike Alternately titled.... SCABS-R-US on the move...... Replacement nurses arrive to prepare for possible strike Maura Lerner ... Read More

  1. by   JMP
    I must remember when posting that although we are next door to each other- Canada and the US are still very Ontario we are unionized- all hospitals (except 2) are in this province.
    The nurses (RN's) have a strong union and although there are always issues- we are fairly well protected.
    We have pension plans- we have a good benefit package (if you are full time) If you are part time- well then you get 6 per cent vac. pay and right now about 11 percent in lieu of- all of this tacked on to a starting wage of 20.50 per hour. The top RN here is getting approx. 30.25 per hour. We do have mesures in place if the work load is too heavy- and we do grieve situations that are unsafe. All of the reasons above are SOME of the reasons I have stayed in Canada- despite numerous job offers from various states. You see, Canadian nurses are constantly being wooed by US hospitals to "come on down". I considered it, seriously, but for now have decided to stay put. But I have not ruled it out.
    I do have a problem with the US health system. It has some good quailites- don't get me wrong- BUT I had a hard time coming to grips with the fact that NOT ALL CITIZENS had equal and fair access to health care. I just don't know if I could look the other way on that issue.
  2. by   -jt
    <Do not focus your energy on these nurses that come in to fill the gap while you make your very important points with YOUR community.>

    Is it so difficult to understand that while those nurses are in there "filling in the gap", they are PREVENTING the striking nurses from resolving the issues and PROLONGING the strike. Its not about making a point with the community. The community knows & is behind us in every such situation. Its about forcing the hospital to make real efforts to address the problem. Strike-breakers let them avoid doing that. And thats what the striking nurses are so upset about. They think How could another nurse do this to us?

    For whatever reasons scabs are there - altruistic or mercenary - as long as they are there, the hospital will ignore the issues rather than sit down & negotiate a settlement. They ignored it in Nyack, NY for 6 MONTHS & almost bankrupted their own hospital just to keep its nurses down & paid the scab agency $19 million $$$ to help them avoid discussing the nurses issues.

    Strike-breaker nurses will not look at what this term means & will not recognize how they hurt the striking nurses. Where do they think the word strike-breaker came from? They may be there for love of pts instead of the quick salary, but the hospital is using them to break the strike. Why wont strike-breaker nurses see how they are being used or see the negative effect their actions have on the ability of the striking nurses to gain improvements?

    It is a fact that they diminsh the bargaining power of the strikers, tip the scales towards the hospital, & help it hold out longer in the hopes that the striking nurses will fold first. Strike-breaking nurses remove the incentive for the hospital to come back to negotiations & to make the best offer it can. With strike-breaking nurses there holding down the fort, the hospital can play games with offers, offer bits & pieces, & avoid the full issues.

    Without strike-breakers they are more serious about finding solutions & working together to reach a settlement because if they dont, there will be a strike & they will lose much more if they have to shut down services. That threat alone gets them back to the table BEFORE the strike begins & usually there is no strike - like we have just seen happen in Minnesota. I dont know why it is so hard for non-union people to understand that.

    To support the striking nurses in their efforts to improve the situation for themselves & their pts but then support the strike-breaker for going in "to fill the gap" is contradictory. The second impinges upon & hinders the first. The nurses would not have to go out on strike if there were no "replacements" because the hospital would make damn sure to settle the issues before the strike began, as we have just witnessed in Minnesota & the improvements would be made without a strike but because of the threat of one.

    Why cant some people understand that as long as striking nurses see other nurses come in and help the hospital stop them, there can be no unity. If you want unity, stay home in unity & solidarity for your colleagues who are trying to make improvements & let the threat of a strike force the hospital to negotiate with the striking nurses BEFORE the strike begins.

    Just look at what happened in Minnesota. 12 hospitals were going on strike - those nurses could have shut down healthcare in those cities. The hospitals COULD NOT GET ENOUGH "REPLACEMENTS" for 8000 RNs & would have lost millions if they had to shut down services. So what did the hospitals do? One by one they came back to the table BEFORE the strike began & found ways to address the safety issues that nurses were going to strike over - and settlements were reached. Something they couldnt bring themselves to do before a strike notice was served.

    If this had been one or two hospitals, the hospitals would have gone for the strike in the hopes of making the RNs give in to their demands because they would have had a good number of "replacements" to handle it & there would have been NO settlement.

    Without thousands of scabs to replace 8000 striking RNs, the hospitals came back to the table, & the pt safety issues & all the others are being addressed.... AND the strike was averted.

    Its that simple.

    How can anyone talk of "unity" while nurses are so willing to cross the strike lines of other nurses & help their employers beat them down? That is the ultimate example of disunity if ever there was one. The striking nurses would welcome nurses from other states who wanted to show their unity by walking with them but crossing over them is a slap in the face - for whatever reason the strike-breakers do it.

    The term "crossing the line" has negative connotations in our language. Guess where it came from.
  3. by   -jt
    <I chose to work and under no circumstances does that give you the right to deride me or accuse me of undermining you.>

    Its not an accusation. Its a fact.

    Scabs refuse to recognize that they do undermine the striking nurses. I suppose they have a right to avoid opening their eyes to that too.

    Thanks for posting your website & proving us right. However it did go underground after all the publicity last year against it. It used to be an open website. Now its retricted access.
  4. by   Jenny P
    It is 11:22 and I just found out that my hospital accepted the contract we were presented with this morning. We did get the improvement in the health care package we asked for; we did get the longevity bonuses addressed; we did get the patient flow with unit autonomy addressed. We only got a 19.3% raise over the 3 years, but we did tell the media that it isn't about the money.
    I did vote for the strike this morning; but after thinking and talking about it all day, I really felt that I'd made a mistake and should have voted for the contract instead of against it. After all, we got the 3 big issues addressed, and the (nearly) 20% raise isn't peanuts. We also have found that we are stronger than we previously thought-- the hospitals blinked before we did.
    I don't know what is happening with the other hospitals votes yet, each of these hospitals have slightly different contracts with different concerns. We are all being offered the same amount of base salary, though, for parity. So some hospitals are getting slightly >20%, some (like mine) slightly <20%.
    We are not done fighting yet by any means. We got some of the big concerns (heallth and dental insurance caps, addressing longevity, and patient flow and safety) this time; next contract: $$$$$$$$$$$!
    This has been a very long week, I'm exhausted from the worry, anger, and suspense.
    If any of the hospitals do go out on strike here; there are many nurses who are ready and able to go out and picket with them.
  5. by   ornurse2001
    Again I ask...This is my fourth posting on this issue...Not yet an answer.Surely somebody among all of these brilliant minds could please educate me.Seriously.I am first off not a current "replacement worker" and have not ever been.I have very little knowledge of organized labor actions.I grew up having no experience with them.I did work in one nursing home many years ago as a PT aide when a union was being organized and was treated very poorly by co-workers because I did not choose to join their union when approached within the first week on the job and I must admit, this experience left a bad taste in my mouth.I was treated very rudely and in a manner that I would never treat another person-but that aside, I have not yet been enlightened on this concern:When the nursing staff choose to go on strike in a LTC facility what measures are taken to ensure that the old people are cared for?Hospitals give a 10 day notice-what about nursing homes?I feel very strongly that elderly, confused people should not be made to move from their homes for the purpose of a strike.It seems like a mandatory eviction to me.It has been my experience in LTC that there are different standards and regulatory agencies that govern staffing ratios, etc. than do hospitals.Should not these agencies be contacted and the unsafe conditions reported to the proper governing bodies rather than moving to strike?I have felt unsettled about this issue since seeing an advertisement for replacement CNA,LPN, and RN's for several LTC facilities going on strike.I know very well the anguish involved in caring for an elderly person in the home, as I have been caring for my husband's grandmother-now 95 yrs old -in our home for 2 yrs.She will be going to a nursing home soon, and I truly am upset about this issue.I hear everyone's comments about "scabs", and I hear everyone's comments about their reasons to strike and I don't have an answer to the future of nursing but I do know that we are not talking about canned vegetables here.Somebody has to take care of these old people in the nursing home.If I thought that there was not enough nursing staff at the nursing home due to a strike, I would - yes, volunteer to go into that facility and bath, change, dry, feed, and nurture these people because it is my ethical responsibility.Would you hate me for crossing that picket line?
  6. by   Christina Terranova RN
    "(Both sides are just greedy and don't care about patients "
    Not true. If the nurses who are forced to strike didn't care about their patients, and the work conditions they are forced to provide care under,[which ultimately determines the level of care provided] then they would just take Charles' advice, and leave hospital nursing and just worry about themselves. In fact, that is why there is a nursing "shortage" for clinical nursing as we speak. Because so many have done exactly that, follow their ID and take care of themselves. And they have every right to remove themselves form the abusive work conditions that exist.

    But these Nurses are not. They are mustering up their courage, and fortitude and standing up for those that cannot stand up for themselves-the ill patient in the bed. They are working to preserve the profession by creating decent reasonable work conditions.
    They are standing up for the rights of patients to receive safe, quality care, and they are fighting for the right of the RN to provide that caliper of care under safe equitable work conditions.

    As I said before, sure, this is a free county. Carpetbaggers, SCABS, whatsoever you want to cal them, they are opportunists who feed off the weakened system-kinda like the definition of a parasite actually.

    Accuse me of name calling if you wish. My position is that these SCABS take high wages that could pay for multitudes of nursing in the communitas these hospitals serve. They are flown around the country, held up in first rate hotels and accommodations, meals, etc., paid for, so that a corporate action to keep the little nurses laborer in line will be successful.
    When they fly off into the sunset to undermine the next unified effort of their professional colleagues, they brag about their money [see the AJN SCAB ad] and start the cash register for the next ride.
    Least that should happen is they are called out publicly for what they are, for their lack of integrity and greedy actions.
  7. by   JMP
    In Ontario (canada) we are the only provience (like a state to the US crowd) where it is illegal for RN's to strike. WE are deemed an essetial service. We have a strong union- and after reading these threads I am glad we can not strike. What an awful postion for nurses to be in- on both sides.
  8. by   Jenny P
    JMP, as an "essential service", are you paid a decent salary with decent benefits so you can afford the health and dental packages through your own workplace? Does your employer listen to you with respect and when you tell them you cannot take 1 more patient, or that you need 3 more nurses for the patient load you have this shift, does the employer FIX these problems right away? As an "essential service", can you count on a pension that will support you in your old age when you retire (or will you have to keep working into your 70's)? Are you happy working in your present working conditions and you see that your job will get easier as time goes by because there is a young, new inexhaustible supply of nurses in the future?
    If you say "YES" to this, I'm moving up to Ontario!!!!!!!
  9. by   Jenny P
    Ornurse, you ask some good questions that I don't know the answer to. It would be like evicting the residents of a nursing home if the nurses would go on strike there. I do not know how to answer your questions since I haven't worked in a nursing home since I was an aide in one in high school (more than 35 years ago). Anyone else able to answer this question?

    On another note, it sounds as though all is not well in the world of "scabs". I didn't see it, but I guess there were several scabs on the news Friday night here that were upset and complaining about being scabs here. I guess several had to sleep in lounge chairs in the lobby of a hotel because their contracts with the scab agencies weren't completed. They complained that several hadn't eaten all day either (I think because they didn't get their per diem pay). Their complaints about taking unpaid LOAs from their own hospitals back home to earn big bucks here fell on deaf ears here in Minnesota. So being a scab may not be such fun after all.
    Understand, I was told about this news interview from a couple of nurses from my hospital Saturday, and I haven't been able to verify what channel it was on on TV. It would be interesting to watch though.
  10. by   PeggyOhio
    Was anything done about mandatory overtime?
  11. by   MollyJ
    Originally posted by Charles S. Smith, RN, MS:
    <STRONG>...I make no distinction between the nurses who were to strike and the nurses who would come to relieve the strikers. Both groups have important missions to fulfill. What I would prefer, however, is to see the negativity associated with both groups and the overt conflict between the groups ended. Like you said...stop the name calling. We must stand together at the end of the day.

    best regards
    Thanks, Charles, I appreciate your clarification. Also, I appreciate your comments about how negativity breeds conflict. Witness this board. And no, folks, I am not saying that any of us are not entitled to our opinions but all the adrenalin here is expensive and divisive. I think Chas' previous comments about the social costs of a strike are certainly witnessed here and JT, the NY hospital may have held out for 6 months at a nurse replacement cost of $19 million BUT that is a small fraction of the cost of loss of trust from the community. Additionally, I'm sure the management-nurse relationship resembles Jerusalem to this day. And that, added up, more closely approximates the true cost of the 6 month long strike.

    I appreciate our neighbors to the north who reflect their discomfiture with the idea that some of us would even see essential services not covered.

    I have come to appreciate that those of you who do believe name calling is an essential part of this discussion are not likely to change that perspective. I respectfully disagree. Please don't lose sight of the issues. Frankly, ANA has lost some ground in my eyes. (Hear that, Wildtime?)

    Onward and upward. Time to move on.
  12. by   rncountry
    Why must things be revealed in a proper time frame? By reading what you wrote Christina I wonder why every association is not screaming like a stomped on eagle! Not over the union issue, but over the idea that we are not patient advocates. We are strongly taught that in school, in my experience I can't think of one nurse I have worked with in my ten years that has not acted in this role. I can't for the life of me understand why only the ANA bothered to answer in a brief, or how it is that the ANA wrote something that helped the other side. It leds me only further down the path that the way we have been doing things to bring about the issues that are so prevelant in the healthcare system now is not working. Be it through unions, workplace advocacy, the associations etc... a new model is required, or we will go whimpering into the night.
    In the new contract the Minnapolis nurses have was mandatory overtime addressed? What about patient to staff ratios? Do these hospitals have UAPs doing licensed nurses procedures and if so was that in any way addressed? What I am looking for is how did the new contract protect safe patient care. Please anyone involved let me know.
  13. by   RNPD
    ornurse-although I do not do LTC, I have friends that do. RNs who work in LTC are by and large supervision-they may do some bedside care, but as supervision, they are unable to join unions or strike. Most of the hands on care is done by LPNs and CNAs supervised by RNs. If the LPNs strike, then the supervising RNs will do all the bedside care. Same as if the CNAs strike.

    So while your question is a good one, and I understand your concern, I believe that a nurses' strike in LTC is really not comparable to one in an acute facility. And even in an acute facility, there are management RNs who do patient care during a strike.

    I hope this addresses some of your concerns.