1. 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
    Star Tribune
    Wednesday, May 30, 2001
    A small army of replacement nurses has started to arrive for training in the Twin Cities, as a dozen hospitals in the area brace for a probable walkout Friday by more than 7,700 registered nurses.For now, hospital officials are doing their best to keep the incoming nurses out of the public eye. They've scheduled orientation sessions for today and Thursday at secret locations and won't say where the nurses will be housed.

    "It's a security thing," said Linda Zespy of the Children's Hospitals of Minneapolis and St. Paul."It's just the way that it's done with replacement nurses," Zespy said.So far, no new talks have been scheduled. But the hospitals called on the Minnesota Nurses Association on Tuesday to let its members vote on the latest contract offer, which the union's negotiators rejected last week."The hospitals have heard from some of their nurses that they would like the opportunity to vote on the proposals," said Shireen Gandhi-Kozel, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Hospital and Healthcare Partnership.She said four of the six negotiating teams, which represent nurses and managers at the 12 hospitals, agreed on staffing, which is one of the thorniest issues.

    The main stumbling block was money, she said, with the hospitals offering a 19.1 percent increase over three years and the union seeking a 35 percent increase."We're asking the Minnesota Nurses Association to put the proposals to a vote," she said.But the union said it has heard no such request from its members. "That's the intent of the hospitals, to override the negotiating committee," said Jan Rabbers, the union's spokeswoman. "But what they'll find is that the membership is the one that's driving the demands." On May 17, the nurses voted overwhelmingly to reject the hospitals' contract offers, which included an 18 percent raise over three years. But nurses say staffing levels are a major issue because they're often stretched too thin to care for patients safely.Hospital officials said replacement nurses would need a day or two of training before replacing the striking nurses Friday. They scheduled the sessions off-site, at secret locations, to keep them away from any possible harm.

    "I can understand why they wouldn't want to disclose the location and have 10, 20 media people descend on them, as well as picketing going on outside," said Gandhi-Kozel. "The primary focus is to make sure that they receive education, and we need to have a productive environment for that to happen." Hospital officials said that the replacement nurses, hired by agencies that specialize in strike staffing, have a minimum of two years' experience in hospital care and an average of five to 12 years in their specialty areas. "Whether we're talking about physicians or nurses, we have national standards," said Dr. William Goodall, vice president of regional medical affairs at Allina Health System, which owns four of the affected hospitals. "So if you are a degreed and licensed RN, it's highly likely that you're competent to begin with." Thousands of replacement nurses will be arriving, although the hospitals won't say just how many. They will be expected to work 12-hour shifts six days a week, hospital officials said.

    In return, they'll get $40 an hour, plus free housing, transportation and other perks.At HealthEast's three hospitals, 340 visiting nurses are expected to replace 1,100 striking nurses, many of whom are part-time. And the two Children's Hospitals expect 300 replacement nurses to help fill in for the 1,200 or so who will go on strike. To help orient them, officials have brought ventilators, IV systems and other hospital equipment to the off-site training location, Zespy said. "It won't be the same; we want our nurses back," she said. "But in the meantime, we'll assure the high-quality, safe care that we're known for."-- Maura Lerner is at .
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    Copyright 2001 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

    Christina Terranova RN, LNC

    Our Unity is our Power

    The Florence Project, Inc.
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    About Christina Terranova RN

    Joined: Sep '98; Posts: 11


  3. by   fiestynurse
    The training of these SCABS must be costing them a fortune! If I were a patient I would not step foot in one of those facilities!
  4. by   kjmta57
    as a nurse dont understand why anyone would want to be a scab nurse?there are plenty of jobs out there and you are breaking the attempt to make improvement in nursing as a are placing your license on the line due to the fact you are workng somewhere you have not been oriented to and everyone hates you(even administration really cant have no respect your just something to why would anyone ever want to break a strike?if anyone can give me even a clue?we cant strike its illegal for us to do so but I would probley quite if evryone decided to walk out.
  5. by   fiestynurse
    They do it for the MONEY$$$$$$. Plain and simple!
  6. by   nurs4kids
    It's nothing more than $$$$. An ex-coworker and friend of mine is there. She took 4 weeks pto from her regular job and plans to call in sick the last two weeks if needed. The way she planned it is she can pay off all her bills in six weeks. I don't quite see that the money's that good. My hospital is paying bonus pay for ewd's and of course ot. We all calculated it, after she told us she was going, and it's no better than we're offered at home. <shrug>
    Short of my kids starving, I wouldn't scab.
  7. by   crnasomeday
    I grew up the daughter of a Teamster, so the thought of scabbing is simply sickening to me. A scab nurse however makes me even more angry than normal, because they're biting the butt of the very community that they're part of.
  8. by   -jt
    Christina Terranova RN, LNC

    Hey toots!!!! And just where were you today when I was up there looking for you to go to lunch??? lol.
    Thanks for all the great articles.
  9. by   Jenny P
    It really makes you wonder, doesn't it? For $40/ hour, they'd have to work how many hours to get that $5000/ week that scabs brag about? Jt had it figured out (on another thread) that that would be 7 12 to 16 hour shfts/week. You could earn the same kind of money through a regular agency and not have to cross a picket line. Some people just don't get it, do they? We are trying to get safer patient care and salaries that will be competitive with other fields so that more people will go into nursing in the future. Who will be there to take care of us when we retire? I don't see anywhere near enough people entering nursing to fill our shoes. Our patients are so much older, frailer, and sicker than they used to be; can you imagine what it will be like if we can't get any respect (ie: decent salaries and better nurse patient ratios)for nursing in the very near future?
  10. by   -jt
    <Jt had it figured out (on another thread) that that would be 7 12 to 16 hour shfts/week. >

    I didnt just figure it out. That came directly from the information several scab agencies sent me. They pay a flat $40/hr just like any other agency. The $5000/wk is not guaranteed. The salary an RN earns is related to how much overtime she is willing to work. You can earn UP TO $5000/wk from overtime IF you are willing to work 7 days in a row of 12-16 hr shifts. If you just want to work normal hrs, then you get normal pay. If RNs want to kill themselves & possibly their pts, they can work all that OT with any agency at home & get the same $5000/wk without crossing a strike line - so there is no excuse to be a scab.
  11. by   berry
    I have to say I am suprised by some of you guys comments. The Nurses going on strike are leaving pts that need them. You know the beds will still be full, and leaving people who need your help is worse than someone crossing a picket line to provide help for them. just my 2 cts
  12. by   -jt
    <The Nurses going on strike are leaving pts that need them. You know the beds will still be full, >

    THAT is where the nurses leverage is. If the hospital is insisting on a strike, The beds should NOT be full. It has 10 days notice of the start date of the strike & it has all that time to clear out those beds & cut services. If it cant do that or doesnt want to do that because it will lose money, it can just come back to the table & negotiate fairly with its nurses, be willing to compromise with them, & avoid the whole thing. The onus is on the hospital.
  13. by   lita1857
    Here in Rochester NY the agencies are offering $60/hr to staff the strikes.... they have also contacted the hospital for "our agency nurses" we have a corporate pool that makes $30/hr plus benefits/no shift diff and offered the $60/hr. Agency ads were in sunday's paper, the hospital was contacted by human resources "networking". Some nurses may have to go due to their contract to cover for the primary hospital "helping out" their neighboring hospital. This could get sticky!
  14. by   Tiara
    Berry: It is an emotionally charged issue. When you are employed and working as a nurse, you are expected to give quality care and you are responsible for that care because you have a license. However, the care you give is contingent upon management decisions such as staffing, nurses working when they're too tired, unfamiliarity with their areas, etc. Once nurses fall into the trap of being totally responsible for the patients in the hospital, the administration takes a back seat and it becomes incumbent upon the nurses to break their backs for the patients on their own. When you are employed by a hospital, you do not have that much autonomy. If there is a lawsuit involving your care, it is your problem for the most part. The staffing issues that the Brockton nurses are fighting for could affect all of us. They need the support of all nurses.