Is this any way to retain nurses? - page 6

Soooo..... We've been unionized with our state nurses assoc since 1983, with significant monetary and professional standard contract gains ever since, and once again are in negotiations with the... Read More

  1. by   CactusFlower
    I am new to the boards and totally impressed with this thread. There is no union in my state or sufficient organization that can echo my disenchantment with my professional frustrations. -jt, you are fighting my battle. I am compelled to ask, how can I help. There are many of us sitting on the sidelines all across this great country--your fight will affect us all. In sheer numbers, we are great! How can we observers help you not only say no, BUT H--- NO!!!
  2. by   nekhismom
    I can't believe what I am hearing. What does the hospital think nurses do?? Sit around all day and sip tea?? This treatment of experienced nurses is ridiculous, to say the least. Although I must admit, $60,000 for a new grad sounds might good. Maybe the experienced nurses need to make the abominable conditions you described known to the new grads. I will graduate in Dec. and I never really thought about the importance of a union. Guess I need to really do some thinking if I want to be valued as a member of a healthcare team. I hope everything works out for the best for all of the nurses at your facility.
  3. by   tgibson3770
    With the current nursing shortage, it would be foolish of you to continue to be involved in a shady organization that treats their employees unfairly. Go get another job.
  4. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Nekhismom, are you referring to the Alberta negotiations? Let me clarify that these negotiations are for the entire province of Alberta, not a single facility. It will affect over 20,000 nurses province wide. There are now nine health regions, some extending from one provincial border to the other (roughly 700 kilometres or 420 miles) that are under the umbrella of the Provincial Health Authorities of Alberta (The Employer).

    Also, take that $60,000 for a new nurse with a grain of salt, since it's in Canadian dollars (currently worth about 70 cents each in US dollars) and from that we pay significant federal and other taxes. I have eight years' experience and work 70% FTE. As of July 27 I have earned $28,891.59 in salary and shift differentials this year; I have paid $9,920.39 in taxes and copayments for my benefits. So my take-home pay is $18,971.20. If I worked full time, I would be in a higher tax bracket (Canada's income taxes are not indexed to inflation) and would therefore have a larger percentage of my cheque skimmed off before I see it.

    The latest salvo from PHAA came in the form of a "letter" to nurses outlining the "truth" about how the mediator's recommendations would actually affect the contract, plus a draft of a collective agreement as it would look with all the recommendations included. They crossed out terminology and bolded new clauses so it would be easy to see the changes. But some changes were not denoted as such and so are hidden. They of course are downplaying all the negative aspects and presenting things in the rosiest possible light. So we push on.
  5. by   nekhismom
    i had no idea that you would be driving that far under this mobility clause!!! how could anyone think that a person, nurse or not, could drive that far to work??? also, i can't believe that taxes take that much of your wages. wow. no wonder canadian nurses practice in the states. this thread and others like it make me seriously reconsider nursing.

    i agree that jt's problems are affecting everyone- american and canadian.
  6. by   UtahRN
    Have any of you looked into working for an agency instead? I haven't had any of these kind of problems that you are talking about. There is no union problems, no politics, and I have great benefits! I just go in and do my job, that's all...
  7. by   sjoe
    Utah, yes, in fact there is an "agency nurses forum" on this BB.
  8. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Originally posted by UtahRN
    Have any of you looked into working for an agency instead? I haven't had any of these kind of problems that you are talking about. There is no union problems, no politics, and I have great benefits! I just go in and do my job, that's all...
    When I first began my nursing career, all that was available was agency nursing. My experience was completely opposite yours. I had no guarantee of hours, no benefits, was paid at LPN rates for certain placements without being told beforehand, and was badgered continually to work on days the office knew I was not available. I got out at the first opportunity.

    And on the Alberta front, the Provincial Health Authorities are being hit with an unfair labour practice complaint for sending an "open letter" to nurses outlining their interpretation of the mediator's recommendations. Some members had the letters mailed to their homes, others had them personally delivered at work and some areas had a stack of them dropped off in their break rooms. It's a blatant attempt to divide and conquer; they hope to convince people who aren't labour-savvy that they mean all the lovely things they've said in the letter, but are refusing to put in writing in a collective agreement. If it's open to interpretation, it's open to abuse. They have drawn up a draft collective agreement as they would have it appear under the mediator's recommendations, which is posted on their website, and it looks quite different from the assurances in their letter. None of the checks and balances they claim will prevail are included.

    There will be a province-wide members vote on September 15 to accept or reject the mediator's recommendations. The union has already formally rejected them, but want a membership vote to solidify their position. Watch this space for results.

  9. by   RNNMD
    I work at John's hopkins which is not unionized but me and some other nurses would like to get one going. Any suggestion?
  10. by   -jt
    You can find info on the websites of the different unions that represent nurses. Shop around, interview them all, ask lots of questions, look at their contracts, talk to their members & compare. Then go with the one that you feel best represents you the way you want to be represented. The national RN-only union is the United American Nurses, representing over 100,000 RNs in 26 states, DC, and the US Virgin Islands. Website is

    Additional info & the websites of other unions that represent other healthcare workers along with RNs can be found at
  11. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Labour woes in Alberta!

    The parties returned to the bargaining table on the 7th and 8th; the union is of the opinion that the discussions were productive and that some meeting of the minds occurred. The employer promptly asked for binding arbitration... and the mediator is the one to set it up. The very same mediator who stated in his recommendations that the document was essentially what an arbitrated settlement would look like. As well, the employer has retooled their media campaign and has started running new ads in the major dailies, at a cost to the taxpayer of over $40,000 a shot.

    Meanwhile there have been grievances filed over the "open letter" which violates the existing contract and complaints have been filed by several locals whose members received their own personal copies of the open letter at their home address, as violations of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.

    More information is emerging about the mobility plan. We've been misinterpreting it. The employer has said on the record that they do intend to "second" nurses more than the 50 km (30 mi) stated, they'll simply pay for the travel over the 50 km limit. And they've agreed that there is no protection from being leapfrogged across the province by moving nurses in 49 km increments.

    It's very hard to comfortably and freely discuss all this at work. Our "unit managers" who are basically team leaders/ permanent charge nurses, are not in the bargaining unit, and they take their breaks in the same break room as the rest of us. All the information I've posted around the unit is mysteriously disappearing. We're all starting to feel genuinely frightened.
  12. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    We voted on the mediator's recommendations on Monday. Every one of our 146 locals polled; the turnout was in excess of 70% of members. Anyone want to guess how we voted? 98.8% voted against the recommendations, and the parties return to the table tomorrow. The employers' spokesperson was quoted in today's paper saying that they had made significant compromises when they accepted the recommendations. I don't see it... they essentially got everything they wanted except for doubling the part-time employees' portion of premiums for extended health care benefits.

    It ain't over yet. We're probably heading to binding arbitration. Or a legislated contract...
  13. by   sjoe
    "Is it just us, or does anyone else get the impression that this hospital is doing all it can to drive our nurses out of their jobs???...... "

    It isn't just you AND many hospitals ARE trying to drive activist, assertive, self-confident, political, independent minded, etc. nurses out of the field, without a doubt. They want only compliant, passive, sub-assertive, obedient, "yes, sir. no, sir. three bags full, sir" types to remain.