Saturday, September 8, 2012

Labor and Delivery

This was a tough week in Labor and Delivery at the hospital, many changes.
The hospital is decreasing the staff,  placing everyone on 12 hour shifts starting in the next schedule, they have lost their Clinical Director, and there have been some discipline issues.
A tough week.
Let's be honest, it's left some wondering if they're better off now than they would have been before we organized.
I can understand those feelings.
We operate under a contract now.  Like any contract, there are things each side must do, and things each side is allowed to do.  What those things are, is a result of the negotiations that take place.  Those negotiations are tied to the strength of each side at the table.  Management's strength comes from the fact that they are the employer, they write the checks.  Our strength comes from our numbers and the fact that we provide vital skills without which the hospital could not operate.  Our numbers mean nothing if we are not united.
It is my job to see that we are united.
As union president, I have access to much more information than I ever did. Some of it I can share, and some I can not.
Births at the hospital are down and this has caused a need to call off nurses (cancel their shifts) and float them to other departments.  The hospital decided that the by decreasing the staff and placing the remaining staff on 12 hour shifts, these problems would decrease. It is within the hospital's contract rights to do this.  It was their decision.
Under the contract, we have the right to "effect bargain", to bargain in an effort to minimize the effects of such changes.  We were able to bargain when the change would begin so that nurses would at least have some planning time, how the reassignment of new shifts would be done (by department seniority), what would happen to those who were displaced (they will go to other departments and have preferential treatment to return if an opening occurs or accept another position in the hospital).  Without a contract there would have been no effects bargaining, the change would have just happened without any input from us.
The loss of the Clinical Director was strictly a matter between management and Terri.  Having known her for years I must say I will miss her.  I wish her well.
As for the discipline, there is not much I can share because of confidentiality.  I can tell you that the nurses received representation. 
I spent a half hour on the phone with one LDRP nurse one evening late this week.  I ran into another in the hall.  Both have been involved in the organizing effort.  Both were frustrated and worn out from the week.
I spent 3 hours with 4 other LDRP nurses on another evening this week.  Like I said, it was a tough week in LDRP.
Healthcare is changing at an alarming rate.  We must do our best to make sure these changes are in the best interest of our members and our community.  That's why we will protect our contractual rights, file grievances when appropriate, effects bargain, and monitor the process of affiliation and Certificate of Need between Backus and Hartford Hospital.
We now have 14 Union Delegates and are seeking 11 more. I have posted them to the right.  I am also looking for people to get involved in committee work. 
There are two directions we can go.  Foreword in increasing unity and strength, or backwards to the old ways. 
It's up to us.

1 comment:

Donna Callicutt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.