KAISER, NURSES STILL FAR APART
With a contract set to expire at midnight Saturday, Kaiser Permanente and the California Nurses Association remain divided on pension and staffing issues. If there's no progress, the union could hold a strike vote early next month.
Sacramento Bee, Aug. 29, 2002
Aug 30, '02
Having dealt with both of them, I am not sure whether Kaiser or the CNA are the larger problem. Neither seems to care about nurses or the quality of the healthcare environment, but only about money and their own bureaucratic power.
SEIU was a dead loss, the 4 years I had them for a union.
Last edit by sjoe on Sep 3, '02
Aug 31, '02
I visit California once a year & work thru a local per diem agency for a few days during the time Im there. Not too long ago, I was offered a travel position for a few weeks at a Kaiser hospital in Los Angeles. The rate was $27/hr. (I've been an ICU RN for 20 yrs & earn more than $38/hr in my regular staff job). But they were accepting short term assignments and it was presented to me that I could go there all expenses paid & work during my vacation from my regular job so I would lose nothing, it would be 'found money' & 'new experiences'. I wasnt considering taking it because I dont want to be obligated to work the whole time when Im there, but I decided to check out the offer for future reference.
I found out that I would not be able to make my own schedule & was expected to sign a contract that allowed the hospital to cancel my shifts at their discretion & without a guarantee of payment. So they could cancel my shifts as many times as they wanted, whenever they felt the census was 'low', & I would lose the pay for those days. And be stuck in that city incurring expenses & without the income I expected.
It was even suggested to me by the travel RN agency that I should also sign up with a local per diem agency once I got there, so I could work someplace else on the days that I was canceled just so that I would have something to fall back on to make up the salary lost thru cancelations. So it seems it was the expected norm that this hospital would not live up to its advertising lures to travel nurses. Incidentally, they dont tell you this unless your savvy enough to specifcally ask about low census days & guaranteed salary. Surprise!
I only knew to ask about this from having talked to other nurses during my visits to that city in the past. Otherwise I never would have even known about the practice of "low census cancelations". Our hospitals are 99.9% unionized in my city & we do not have any such thing as "low census days". Our hospitals are not allowed to just send us home without pay. If the census is low here, you get to spend the right amount of time with the pts you do have & do the job you were meant to do. So this concept of Kaisers rubbed me the wrong way. If they are hiring me for a job that is 3 days a week for a certain period of time & I accept it & make myself available for it, I expect them to live up to their end of the deal, have work for me for the agreed-to period of time, & pay me for it. I would not accept a job that could just tell me to stay home without pay. Whats the point of having that job???
Also, while they were telling me I would be filling an ICU day shift position, they wanted me to sign a contract that gave them the right to float me anywhere in the hospital at anytime & any shift as they saw fit. Being unionized for many years, its been decades since I worked in a position that gave sole control to the employer lording over me, & eliminated my voice in any decisions pertaining to my job, so that clause alone would have squashed the whole thing for me if I had been thinking of accepting the assignment.
The way I saw it, this hospital was using the lure of an ICU position just to get me there, & then once I was stuck there having signed the contract without scrutinizing it, they could legally turn me into the med-surg rotating-shift float pool. And I would be stuck with that for the entire assignment. Why in the world would I put myself thru so much stress & aggravation for a 'vacation'?
Its like theyre saying nurses need this hospital more than that hospital needs us, so they think they hold all the cards & we'll just have to put up with any amount of BS they want to throw.
Wrong. The conditions in that contract are unacceptable..... except for those who dont mind being doormats. The thing that irked me the most about this place was that they arent up-front about it. You dont know any of this until the last minute. Some dont even realize it until theyre there.
I dont trust this hospital system. They advertise one thing to attract you, but then sneakily try to abuse you once they get their claws into you, & if you signed the contract without reading the fine print & seeing between the lines, youre stuck with it.
Last edit by -jt on Aug 31, '02