Thursday, November 24, 2011

Come see for yourself

When workers vote to form a union and begin bargaining a contract management is prohibited from changing any practices until agreement on a contract is reached. When changes are made that either grant a benefit or take one away before the contract is reached it is called a Unilateral Change in Working Conditions. While we have serious concerns about the current Pay for Performance system, it is the current practice. When management announced they would not give nurses their deserved raises or bonus until our union agreed to specific contract language they committed an unfair labor practice.
The three components of the shared reward program are the practice at the hospital and by law must be continued until there is a contract in place.
What's worse, they are still enforcing the evaluation portion of the program! Management is trying to use the raises we count on as leverage and they are breaking the law to do it!
When we questioned management on this their attorney said the evaluations were separate and not connected to raises. Management claims that the raises in the past were in no way connected to your score on your evaluation.
However, hospital spokesman Shawn Mawhiney said Monday that the bonuses and other rewards are given to employees as part of a pay-for-performance system. "Both the performance of the individual employee as well as that of the hospital are factors in determining how much each employee receives, along with the number of hours worked", he said.
So.....which one is it? 
"This isn't some new practice," said Lisa Currier, registered nurse. "The hospital has given bonuses to employees every year. By changing that practice they're breaking the law. This is as illegal as changing the policy for overtime."

Another nurse, Donna Callicut, said the issue was discussed as part of the contact negotiations between the union and the hospital. Talks are scheduled to resume next week.

"I was at the bargaining table when we made it clear to management that we expect them to continue the practice of giving bonuses to everyone based on hours worked," she said.
Shawn Mawhiney also said,"We offered them exactly what other employees were getting, and they refused," he said. The hospital would not award the bonuses solely on the basis of hours worked, he added.
"You can't have one without the other," he said. "We're not going to apologize for asking the nurses to live up to the same standards we set for everyone else in the organization."

The "same standards we set for everyone else" is, according to the hospital's lawyer, to continue the system we have, and that would be the only compensation for nurses for the three year contract if we would agree to it. It wasn't a serious offer and it did not address the bonuses at all. 
We have given a detailed wage proposal.  It can be accessed by a link on this blog and at  To this date, the hospital has not responded to our wage proposal nor have they offered a proposal of their own.
When we started negotiations we attempted to hold them at the hospital so that nurses could attend and watch and listen for themselves. 
The hospital refused.
However, negotiations are open. 
Come see for yourself

It is times like these when it becomes crystal clear why every nurse should be at negotiations. You have the opportunity to hear for yourself management's position. If you have questions there will be time for everyone to get answers. Over one hundred nurses have come out, many for multiple sessions. Next week we have a marathon session of bargaining and we will certainly be talking about the bonuses as well as other economic issues and seniority. Come out and be a part of shaping our contract. Courtyard by Marriott
5:15pm – 10pm
Monday November 28th
Tuesday November 29th
Wednesday, November 30th
Come in for 15 minutes or the whole session but come out and support the nurses sitting at the bargaining table.

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