Friday, March 30, 2012

Fighting for Respect

There was something different in the air last night at negotiations.  I wasn't sure what it was at first but now I know, it was RESPECT.

After the big blow up on Tuesday, I didn't know what to expect.  The words and the tone of voice were just different, like equals across the table. (What a novel idea)

It reminds me of the one fight I was in in school.  We had one kid in class who was always getting picked on.  He was the only one in class smaller than I.  One day he was getting picked on again and I just couldn't take it anymore.  Anyway, after the fight I was treated differently by the kids in the class, I guess because I had the courage to stand up when they didn't.

Now, don't get me wrong, management's proposals are still garbage. Their latest is 0.5%, 0.75%, and 1% wage increases and insurance cost share increases of 4%, 4.5%, and 5% for full time and 6%, 6.75% and 7.5% for part time. 

I think it means more when I give a real life example.

Many of you know Casie, who works in the emergency department.  She is a wonderful nurse and person.  She, like many nurses, has three jobs, a nurse, a mother and wife.  Her husband works full time, Casie provides the insurance, and she does her best to be there for her family.  She's active in her church and she and her husband run the food building at the youth football program.  She works 28 hours a week so that she can raise a family.

By my calculations, at the end of 3 years she will have:
increased wages of $22.12/week,
increased insurance deduction of $143.30/week,
or a net paycheck decrease of $121.18/week
or $6301.36/year!

Or about 1% of our CEO's salary.

Not for profit Backus had a profit of $14.9million last year, I guess they're shooting for more next year.

By law, the bargaining team must promote for ratification whatever contract we negotiate.  We cannot negotiate a contract and then advise our members to vote against it.

I ask you, how can I recommend a contract that steals $6301.36 a year from Casie and others?

For the second time in a row we had a huge turnout of members last night.  Management was counting.  A fair contract will not be won at the negotiation table, it will be won by the full seats behind us. 

So thank you and keep it up, we are nearing the finish of this long marathon and you have been great.  Find that one last burst on energy and we'll get a fair contract that we deserve, one that will keep good nurses at Backus, and that will benefit our patients and our families.

This Monday, April 2, we will hold informational picketing at the hospital in from 7:30 am till 8:00 pm. This is not a work stoppage, it is an opportunity to reach out to the community to both ask and thank them for their support.  You should report to work at your scheduled time and give the great care you always do.  If you are not working, or before or after work, you should be on the line.  We have 2 more negotiations scheduled, April 9 and April 17, at the Courtyard Marriott, this time starting at 6 pm, you should be there if you are interested in your contract.

There is no question of whether we will sign a contract, the question is, what will it look like?  The answer is, we will get the contract we fight for. 

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