The Local 5105 Negotiations Committee had its first day of bargaining with Virtua management today and we presented our initial proposals. The biggest issue in the negotiations is staffing, as it impacts almost every other issue in the hospital.
Here is a list of our key issues:
*Staffing is the #1 issue. ED, Med-Surg, Critical Care, OR, PACU, Endo-Cysto, Same Day, L&D, Homecare—Every area working short-staffed. Unsafe staffing forms in the past were about 30-40 per month but are now 130+ per month. We have many proposals to both increase staffing and hold Virtua accountable. Virtua leaves positions vacant for months, sometimes years. Virtua would rather invest money into Ritz Carlton and tell nurses to pretend the always “have the time.
*Benefits for seniority including holiday commitment and reassignment. We will propose increased and new benefits for nurses who remain at Memorial.
*Clinical Grouping language proposed will limit reassignment areas. We feel nurses working in specialty areas should be taking care of specialty patients. Virtua has routinely used, for instance, MBU nurses to care for Special Care nursery babies rather than hire into vacant positions. (a reoccurring theme)
*Clinical Ladder. Virtua has instituted a Clinical Ladder program (PDAP) on the other side of Virtua that is so difficult and time consuming that only 3% of their nurses have achieved anything in the past few years. We will have our own proposal that allows our nurses in put into the Clinical Ladder.
*Committees. Since Virtua wants a Clinical Ladder that mandates nurses sit on committees they should be releasing nurses to attend the meetings. Virtua is selective about releasing staff to attend committee meetings.
*PTO Virtua short-staffs all units, leaves positions vacant, then denies PTO based leaving the unit “critically short”. We want this to stop. We are entitled to use our PTO.
*Wages We will be proposing increases in multiple areas including wages, education, 401K and retirement.
*Worker Safety We are negotiating for protections for members with safe lifting and vaccination reactions