Staffing Issues at UH - Health Professionals & Allied Employees

Staffing Issues at UH

2020 was a rough year, we were forced to reckon with a pandemic that placed the entire globe at a standstill. Somehow 2021 has proven to be even tougher as healthcare is experiencing an unexpected transition due to an extreme shortage of registered nurses across the country. University Hospital is proving to have an even larger problem as we were dealing with staffing shortages prior to the start of the pandemic and now it has only worsened. In an effort to combat the staffing challenges, the Hospital has contracted agency nurses as well as are relying more on members working extra shifts to fill in the gaps.

The HPAE Local 5089 Executive Board wants to be clear that we are not in favor of management wasting money on agency nurses that have no commitment to either the Hospital or the community, but we do realize that this staffing shortage places us in a unique situation. Members contact us on a daily basis to lament their exhaustion of working extra shifts, longer hours all while being understaffed. Here are a few things that every member must remember:

  1. If there is an agency nurse on your unit, according to Section 10.11 of the contract, they are to be given any float assignments first, followed by per diems then overtime, etc.
  2. In accordance with Section 10.07 of the contract protects those members who are required to work on-call shifts can not be forced to work more than 16 consecutive hours in a 24 hour period. Furthermore, if a member works 16 hours in a day which includes their call shift, that member can not work for the next 8 hours.

HPAE recognizes that our members go above and beyond for their patients while feeling as though they get little to no acknowledgement from management. We understand your frustration and ask that you continue to use patience as we negotiate a new contract that will address many of the concerns that our members have identified since CoVid, such as a real wage increase that makes us competitive with the hospitals in the surrounding area.

HPAE understands the many reasons why the morale is low during these hard times and communicate your concerns to management every chance that we get.  We will also share any new information as soon as it is received. The next negotiation session is Tuesday, November 16th and we will provide an update shortly after the session concludes. If you have any questions on the information provided above, please feel free to contact your local union rep or email

In Unity,

Banita Herndon, RN

President, HPAE Local 5089

HPAE Local 5089 Executive Board:

Banita Herndon, RN (President)

Cynthia Baez-Lugo, RN (Treasurer)

Wendy Bobcombe, RN (Secretary)

Wanda Caudle, Case Management (VP of Med/Surg)

Dara Skinner, Case Management (VP of Periop)

Joselino Ulanday, RN (Chair, Healthy & Safety)