Saturday, February 16, 2013

Snowstorm cleanup

Snowstorms can leave a mess.  I'm not just talking about the massive piles of plowed snow everywhere you look.  There's other fallout as well.
The effects of this past weekend's snowstorm on the hospital are an example.
Let me say once again how proud I am to be coworker to the wonderful hospital workers who put their lives on hold, who spent days at the hospital, who worked long tiring shifts, all in the care of their patients.  Workers from every department pitched in to ensure that our mission, the care of the sick, carried on.
Many of you worked without knowing if and when you would be allowed to leave, and without knowing if you would be compensated for your hours. I must have received 30 emails telling your individual stories and have had countless other phone calls and conversations.  To a person, everyone understands and accepts their need to work under harsh conditions in an emergency.
They seek only that which is right. employees should be treated with respect and part of that is respecting their time and their rights under contract and law.
Our executive board and our field rep have been working with HR on these issues. 
I'll not go into detail right now but I will say the conversation continues.  All workers have some protection under labor law, the nurses have the extra protection of having a contract.  There can be differences of opinion on interpretation of the law and the contract, and the conversation may sort that out. 
There are mechanisms in place if agreement cannot be reached.
In the middle of the snowstorm, after emails and calls started coming in, I sent out an email to our members.  I told them to be safe and to do their job the best they could and I promised to do my best to sort the mess out latter.  In reality, there was no reason for me to tell you this.  You have all decided to work in health care because you care for people, you understand the difference you make every day in their lives. you would have done all this without my saying so.
I am not "proud of you", that would be condescending.
I am "proud to be one of you".
We will clean up this mess.  It might take some time, but it will get done.