HPAE Local 5089 and University Hospital had our regularly scheduled Labor and Management Committee meeting on Tuesday, June 10th to discuss the many concerns expressed by our members. Here are the highlights from that meeting:
Observation Unit (H-Blue)
The Observation Unit has been delayed by the NJ Department of Health despite the fact that University Hospital has hired over 40 nursing staff to provide patient care on the unit. HPAE held several meetings with management in which we objected to the proposed 12:1 staffing levels for the unit; however we were recently advised that the staffing levels have been reduced to 9:1 when it opens. HPAE maintains the position that the new level is still unsafe based on the acuity of the patients that will be admitted to the unit and will continue to monitor the staffing once the unit has opened officially.
Please be advised that any member that calls out for their regularly scheduled weekend shift may be required to make up those shifts in accordance with the contract. Per Sue Palma, University Hospital’s Interim Chief Nursing Officer, there have been an excessive amount of weekend call outs recently, which they allege is a major contribution to the short staffing issues for many units.
Unsafe Staffing Forms
Effective immediately, all unsafe staffing forms must be faxed directly to the staffing office at (973)972-3840 as well as a copy of the form should be given to your manager. In addition, HPAE asks that you send a text message to Trudy Barthelemy, HPAE Staffing Advisory Committee Chair, at (973)762-4701 so that we can be sure deliver a response to you directly within a timely manner. By faxing the form directly to the staffing office, HPAE will be able to get a real time response from management and address the issue immediately. Remember: As an RN, anytime that you feel an assignment is unsafe based on your professional judgment, the forms should be filled out. It is imperative that you follow this process as we are working hard to resolve many of these staffing concerns. Also, please feel free to provide any additional information that you feel is relevant to you reaching your decision to file the form.
Management also advised HPAE that they anticipate making upgrades to the system to add a web-scheduler component in the near future. According to management, the new system is designed to identify staffing deficiencies for each department as well as afford our members more flexibility when requesting their upcoming schedules. HPAE has requested more information on this new system and will provide more updates upon receipt of information.
The time is near for annual evaluations for our members and it is imperative that you know your rights. According to the contract, you have three (3) calendar days, excluding weekends and holidays, to review the evaluation that you receive from your manager. HPAE encourages you to take the full three (3) days to read through your evaluation carefully, as well as, offer any comments that you deem relevant, prior to signing.