We are asking each member to vote to authorize our committee to call for concerted action up to and including a strike. We want to be clear that while this is a strike authorization vote, we would call the membership together for another vote before making any decision about going on strike. This vote allows us to call for other concerted activity such as informational picketing and gives us leverage at the table when we meet with management again on May 18th. The vote will be done through the American Arbitration Association (AAA). You will be receiving an email from AAA on May 15, 2023, at 6:00 AM EDT. The online and telephonic polling is set to begin on Monday, May 15, 2023, at 7:00 AM EDT, and conclude on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, at 4:00 PM EDT. Results will be downloaded by AAA at the conclusion of polling. If you do not receive an email with voting instructions and a PIN, please request replacements by calling AAA Duplicate Hotline 1-800-529-5218 Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Members may also make requests by e-mailing Sacha Ulerio at email@example.com.
- Ratios: We proposed safe staffing ratios that we know are critical to provide the care our patients deserve, as well as differentials if they are short RN or ancillary staff. The hospital has rejected this language.
- We proposed language assuring that ancillary staff and not Registered Nurses perform Non-Nursing Functions on a regular basis except in emergent situations. The hospital has rejected these proposals.
- We proposed language giving union staffing committee members the ability to require posting of 10 FTE’s per year. The hospital has rejected these proposals.
We proposed a 10% across the board increase in the first year and management came back with 3%, which is an insult (and 2% each of the following two years). They dismissed our other economic proposals such as increased charge pay and increases to the 401K by saying they wanted to focus on wages, and then gave us a wage proposal that is well under the current inflation rate. They are asking us to solve their staffing issues for them by doing more with less, while at the same time proposing wage increases that will do nothing to encourage the retention and recruitment of nurses.
- Management has rejected our proposals to increase the Differential for Float Staff, Preceptor Diff, Critical Shift Diff, Charge Pay, Shift Diff, giving our members “We Care” hours, and increase Bereavement Leave.
- They have not responded to our proposal to increase Tuition Reimbursement.
We proposed and management agreed to continue Step movement each year of the contract.
- Health and Safety: We proposed language to Increase safety measures at doors and entrances, increase visitor screening methods, and ensure 24 security presence in the ER. Virtua has acknowledged past failures but has yet to directly respond to our language.
- Recruitment and Retention – While management is only focused on recruiting new nurses, HPAE is fighting for both new nurse recruitment and RETENTION OF EXISTING STAFF. We have proposed improvements in orientation and mentoring of new to practice nurses. We have also proposed incentives for long-term employees to stay at Virtua which management has rejected (eg. shorter time to qualify for one less holiday, payout of accrued EST and increased 401(k) employer contributions based on years of service). Who will be here to train future nurses?
- Clinical groupings: The hospital has proposed to merge ICU and 2N, the Main Hosp Periop with MASC, and one way pulls from MBU to L&D. We have had multiple breakout sessions where nurses have shared what a problem this would be for our members. While management continues to reject our staffing proposals, they are trying to fix the staffing problems on our backs by asking us to do more with less.
- Per diems: The hospital is proposing to increase the work requirements for per diems even though we have made it clear to them that they will only lose per diems due to other work commitments. They are also proposing a new per diem tier with increased requirements.
- Holidays: The hospital has proposed to limit our ability to choose how to schedule weeks when we aren’t working on a holiday. This is just more of management trying to get us to solve their problems rather than hiring the staff we need.
- We have achieved TA’s regarding using HPAE approved membership forms and making per-diems eligible for PDAP.