We have an important announcement to make regarding temporary changes to our contract in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The hospital approached us and wanted to discuss modifying parts of our contract regarding reassignment and cancellations. HPAE represents healthcare workers across the state and we have been hearing horrific stories from our union brothers and sisters in North Jersey about the dire situations they are facing in their facilities. Their hospitals are entirely COVID-19 patients. These hospitals were not ready for this and we are in a position to be better prepared. But we realize that it’s going to take some flexibility from the protections we have in our current contract in order to handle the expected surge of patients in the next week or two. We made some difficult decisions and agreed to the following changes on a temporary basis:
- Inspira may involuntarily reassign nurses to other facilities, including Mullica Hill.
- Inspira may involuntarily reassign you to units outside your clinical grouping, and the hospital will provide training and orientation to nurses who don’t normally work on those areas.
- Prior to reassignment, the hospital will first seek volunteers. If there are no volunteers, then they will reassign staff.
- No one will be cancelled at this time. In lieu of cancellation, you may be floated to a different area to receive training.
- If for some reason there is no work or training available and you are cancelled, you will be paid your regular rate of pay to be on standby for your entire shift.
- There will be a freeze on internal job transfer dates. However, no external candidates will be hired into a posted permanent position without internal candidates having the opportunity to apply for that position.
- Anyone willing to pick-up an extra shift will receive a $20 per hour differential. Per diems are also eligible for this if they pick-up shifts above their minimal requirement. You will also be given a $2 per hour differential for working outside your clinical grouping and a $5 per hour differential for working outside your assigned facility.
We did not make the decision to temporarily modify our contract lightly. We heard from many of you asking for additional staff to work on units that are seeing COVID-19 patients. We also heard from nurses that have been barely working because their units have been low census. Many of you have already volunteered to help on other units. Please let management know if you feel you are working outside your practice or certifications and continue proper documentation on your reassigned unit. We feel that with immediate training and orientation of staff we may be able to handle an already stressful situation in a better way.
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