Don’t take what the union says at face value. We believe that it is important to investigate what the union can do for you, and look at info from multiple credible sources. Realize CNA is waging a political campaign. They will lie to you just like a politician will to get your vote.
This past week CNA passed out a new flyer. I don’t have the flyer in front of me, but here are some of the things I do remember. CNA claimed credit for the following:
4 “New” positions in critical care. Really? 4 people left and the manager posted replacement positions.
They also took credit for new white boards in CCU. Really? We replace those every two or three years anyway.
And water coolers in CCU? Really? The manager never even knew it was an issue. Once she heard about it, they were in place within a week.
New flooring in Maternity? Really? That was planned eighteen months ago.
7 new positions in ER? Really? Those were planned because the ER expanded.
Big Boy commode on 6East? Come on now, really? Those only cost $300 and I’m sure the manager would have just purchased one at any time if she had known there was a need.
If CNA lies about stuff like this, what other lies are they telling you?
Remember- CNA is running a political campaign to get your vote. They can lie through their teeth, just like politicians do, and that’s exactly what they are doing. Once they get voted in…… you get what you get out of the bargaining.
Do you want to go on strike? I think they are ugly, and not good for patients and the CNA website is filled with pictures of RNs striking.
Someone asked what about CNA and Magnet Status. CNA now says “there are lots of Hospitals that have both CNA and Magnet Status.” Many of these are University of California hospitals. UC Hospitals are part of a larger system with a lot more resources than we have. They all have advanced research programs and some are associated with Schools of Nursing that help bridge the gap between nursing and research.
Today, at our hospital if you want to be involved, you can be. The opportunities are many and varied, depending on your passion. It always surprises me how many RNs don’t want to be involved in anything. They don’t subscribe to a professional journal to help advance their practice. They don’t go to conferences unless they need CEs for their license renewal. When I was a new nurse, I couldn’t wait to get involved. I wanted to understand the bigger picture. When I was an experienced nurse, I still looked for opportunities to get involved.
This week I’ve been browsing the CNA website. What I see is that they make a lot of noise over perceived cuts to patient care, but nothing much seems to change. The folks at a long time union (CNA) hospital in Oakland moved into a new hospital building in January of this year. Now this hospital is part of a large health system that makes decisions at a very high level without necessarily involving RNs in decisions about how to build things and how things should be laid out. It was a tough move, no doubt. A new facility, a new electronic health record system and new equipment- all at once. I can see how that would be bad. Nine months later, the union nurses and CNA are still complaining. It appears nothing has happened. Remember- CNA has no control over what EHR the hospital chooses to buy, the equipment the hospital chooses to purchase or how the hospital wants to design and build the facility. They can negotiate for wages and benefits.
Compare that to our hospital.
Electronic Health Record
From Day 1, we had RNs involved in the decision to which EHR to buy. I know of several RNs who went on several different trips (at hospital expense) to look at the various systems in hospitals that had them up and running. The decision on which EHR to purchase was the team’s decision.
As employees worked on the build last year there were many things that the EHR company said were not possible. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. The RNs involved in the build did the best they could with the information they had- really! To think anything else or to blame them discredits the hard work they did trying to make it right. Now that the system is up and running we have task forces working on making it better. Our IT people are reaching out to the network of hospitals with the same EHR and finding out we can make some things the way we want them, and we are demonstrating them and approving them at the various task forces. Are there problems still? Of course, nothing is perfect and there are some things where there are so many facets to a decision it’s hard to decide which option is best.
It’s been rough since go live. It’s always rough when you change something as big as this. It changed the work of the physicians, the RNs and everyone else. You need to have a mental map of where things are and how to do things in the EHR and that takes time to develop. Some people had it figured out in the first few a few weeks. Some people are still struggling with it.
When our old EHR went live, there was mass confusion and it was a mess. Some RNs quit because it was too hard. I have not heard about that happening yet with this new one. It took us ten years to get our old EHR to where it was and we still did work every day to make it better. We had the same situation- we didn’t know what we didn’t know. Over ten years it got better but it took a long time.
What Products We Buy
The RNs on Nursing Practice Council decided that they needed a subgroup to evaluate disposables and other products being considered for purchase. We have a Products Evaluation Group that was planned to start in June 2013. The issue there was we were going to go live with the new EHR in August. So we moved it to November, and then go-live got bumped to November, so we decided to start In February. And then- well, you know the story- the EHR go live got bumped to March. We moved it again- and started planning it in June of this year. Because of summer vacations, we finally got it up and running in August. We’ve had two meetings and we have evaluated a number of products and have not approved some and have approved others. For one product, there is an evaluation of efficacy taking place now.
Building the Buildings
Each time we have built a new building in the last ten years there have been RNs on the teams, deciding what things should look like, what monitors to buy and hundreds of other decisions that have to be made. The new ER as well as the West Tower had RNs involved. It was a collaborative process.
RN Participation in Hospital Decisions
My point in all of this is that our hospital, while not perfect, really does have RN participation in so many ways I can’t count them. The leaders want our input. We have a Falls Team and a Code Blue Committee among many others- but these two have had RN participation for over ten years. We have RNs on the Clinical Alarms Committee addressing the National Patient Safety Goal. We have RNs on the Safe Patient Handing Team. We have RNs on the Medication Safety Team, we have RNs on the STEMI Receiving Center Team, we have RNs participating on many medical staff committees.
We have over twenty nursing councils with real power. Want to see it in action? Come to a Policy and Procedure meeting and watch bedside RNs making decisions on whether or not incorporating the latest evidence into practice makes sense for us. Go watch the Nursing Education Council plan the best way to educate employees on the new practice based on a policy change!
We have hundreds of RNs participating on these committees and councils. CNA proposes to replace this one Professional Practice Council! Just one. Good grief. We will lose the voice we currently have, and also lose the power we have to influence decisions. It’s nuts to want to give up our voice on all of those committees and councils! We have a LOUD voice.
That’s just one reason why I Stand With Huntington.
In response to thing having been said, I wanted to say a few words as a floor nurse. People trust our CNS’s and look to them to for answers. They are always willing to champion nurses concerns. They are amazing patient and nursing advocates, and each one does it with the passion they have for the profession. They are a fantastic tool and resource to have as a bedside nurse. They always find what research says and what is best and current practice, they listen, and they act.
To OUR wonderful CNS’s (and other Advanced Practice Nurses), Thank you! Keep up your great work!
I’ve been a nurse for many years now, all of them at Huntington. This is the 3rd time unions have attempted to organize the nurses at Huntington during my career. Each time, including this time the Nurses have had some valid issues and concerns that make the environment ripe for an opportunist to swoop in, make promises and collect money. And never have the nurses voted a union in to “protect us”, “get more money”, or “generally improve conditions”.
I believe this is because at the heart of the majority of Huntington nurses is the ideal that we can make the difference within our own Profession. Whether through grass roots movements, through councilor systems, through evidence based practice or united movements, we have and will continue to accomplish great deeds.
Never in my career have I asked or wanted another entity to do what I am very capable of doing and have usually grown from the experience of doing.
This hospital is not perfect, administration has its flaws and change doesn’t come quickly for some. I don’t know a hospital that is perfect, but what I do know is that administration has kept this nonprofit, stand alone, community hospital operating during the worst of times, including in 2008 recession when many hospitals closed programs, departments and layoffs to stay afloat. This didn’t happen at Huntington. I don’t care to get another 3 dollars more an hour, it is nothing compared to the protection, independent nursing practice, camaraderie, and relationships I have nurtured these many years.
As I have talked with nurses during these tense times, there are feelings of anger with Cerner, frustration with Managers or administration, non-competitive wages, and some even want “revenge”. There are issues that need attention, I agree, but I prefer Nursing fixes these things from within the profession, not a union with vested interests in lining their pockets and growing a bottom line.
I don’t like the way Cerner was rolled out nor the issues inherent in a new program, so I am part of a Nursing Cerner Task Force; fixing it. When I haven’t agreed with or enjoyed a manager, I reinvented myself and changed career paths; fixed it. RN wages, need fixing, let’s get competitive or even leading edge; I agree, HR needs to step up. “Revenge”, never let myself get that far, but know there are avenues to manage those issues well before they evoke the desire to exact revenge. I have always taken responsibility for my practice and my happiness within my profession. I don’t need a third party to negotiate how I work, whose job is what, or a few bucks more an hour. All the while making millions off of my back – No, I STAND with Huntington.
This week Huntington employees who are acting as union organizers started wearing the “iSTAND” buttons. This made us laugh. We didn’t know that “Stand with” translated to “grumble about” in CNAese.
While we are not sure of what they think “I Stand With Huntington” means, we will take this opportunity to remind everyone that it is important to educate ourselves about what unions can and can’t do for us.
The Difference Between the “I Stand” people and the Huntington CNA Organizers:
The I Stand With Huntington organizers are using personal funds to purchase buttons, and make signs and flyers. We are not using hospital copiers to make fliers like some of the union organizers are. While getting up at 5 am to come in on a day off and share information with our peers is sometimes fun, like when people are visibly relieved we are NOT promoting the union, or when people are excited to learn about our group, we are not being paid to do this. We are coming in on our own time to stand outside and talk with you about what why we believe Huntington is better union free. We do this because we think it is important that we use our voices to talk about an alternative to the union. Hospital Administration has not provided us with any resources or made promises to us of bonuses, raises, promotions or any other sort of financial compensation. It would be sweet if they did, but alas, we have heard that’s illegal.
The Hospital Employees Serving as Organizers for CNA: Meanwhile the Huntington Hospital employees who are organizing for the union aren’t putting out a dime. CNA pays for all organizing costs. Who paid for the buffet at a local restaurant on Saturday? Who pays for the food that appears on your unit, courtesy of CNA? Who paid for the hot dogs today? WHAT? THERE WERE HOT DOGS TODAY? Oh man, I love hot dogs. Will they have them again tomorrow when I’m working? Who pays the HH employees who are serving as the top internal organizers for CNA to help convince you to support the union? Did you know that we heard some of them are secretly being paid up to $20K? Who pays for that? Do you know?
Why do you think a “UCLA Nurse” has been on our campus several times this past week, hanging out with CNA organizers?Does it not seem weird to you that someone from a hospital on the west side is hanging around our hospital for hours on the green strip of grass near the south parking structure? It’s not that she enjoys hanging out on the green. It is not out of the goodness of her heart. She’s being paid! It is about the green- but it’s the green money in her pocket, not the green ground cover. Personally, if I supported the union it would take a LOT of money before I spent my day off at another hospital to stand with the CNA. And I’m sure that is exactly how much the “UCLA Nurse” is getting. A lot of money. It’s about the money!
Mis-Education: Here’s what the Union told one of my pro-union coworkers this week: The union told her they will “back us up” when we need more linen for patient care. Wait. What? The CNA is going to ride in on a white horse and bring us more linen from their secret stash? This nurse has only listened to union rhetoric and not investigated on her own to discover the truth about unions in hospitals. She said to me “Well, I stand with Huntington too.” What? I encouraged her to read up on unions, the promises they make and then reconsider her decision.
So what is the meaning of “I Stand With Huntington?” The answer is in the first post on this blog. Here it is again:
This site has been created for Huntington employees who favor the use of their own voice to work out issues with administration. We do not deny there are real issues. Administration IS listening, and while it might seem as if they are trying to pacify the unrest, in reality many of these changes had been planned for months, if not years.
We do not need to pay a union to be an intermediary between us and Huntington Administration to solve problems.
That unions make promises they cannot keep.
That each individual must examine unbiased sites as well as information from the unions.
So there it is. You can’t be pro-union and stand with Huntington. WE, the “I Stand with Huntington” people use our OWN voices to solve problems.
Many people don’t seem to have heard that voting in a union will result in fundamental changes of determining how and when we get days off. In union hospitals, managers have to follow the “rules” or run the risk of being grieved by another employee who wanted something that was provided to you. As a result, managers have little choice but to follow policy to the letter.
Consider these scenarios:
Getting the time you want off:
Requesting Days Off: You need a specific period of time off because your dog needs to have his hip replaced (yes, vets do this procedure). You want to be off the day he has surgery, and also for the first few days after he comes home. You request the time off, and talk to the manager about it but there are a significant number of other nurses on your unit with more seniority who also want the same time period off. Most union contracts give priority to the nurses with the most seniority. This means if you have just a few months or even a few years in at Huntington, you are out of luck if someone with more seniority also wants that time off.
Days Off for School: Are you in school and you need to have specific days off for class? You better hope someone with more seniority doesn’t need the same days off to babysit their grandson. If your unit is large enough, it *might* not matter but even those units limit how many people can be off at the same time. On any given unit you may be out of luck.
Holidays: Good luck getting one of the “big” holidays off. Right now, we have a relatively egalitarian system of determining who is off and when people are off. If you worked Thanksgiving last year, you are given priority if you want it off this year. If a union is voted in, it is unlikely that this system would remain. Most union contracts give preference to the employees with the greatest seniority. If you have been working at HH for less time than your co-workers, you would again be out of luck.
Union representation is not what the union characterizes it to be. If you didn’t hear it already, it’s like a political campaign where they can lie through their teeth, promising us whatever they think we want to hear. Hospital Administration on the other hand is limited by law as to what they can say.
Here are a few things about the ways a hospital is limited in what they can say that you can find with a simple Google search:
Employers are prohibited from doing any of the following:
Discriminate in any way against any employee for participating in union activities. This prohibition applies to all aspects of employee relations.
Promise or grant benefits to your employees (such as wage increases, holidays, benefits or improvements in working conditions) to encourage them to abandon the union.
Make threats based on employee support of the union, including threats of discharge, layoffs, plant closure or discontinuing current benefits.
Interrogate your employees or prospective applicants concerning union-organizing activities.
Prevent pro-union oral solicitation by employees during nonworking hours and breaks.
Engage in surveillance of employees to determine their views on the union.
Take a straw vote of employees as to whether they favor or don’t favor the union, except in special circumstances and in accordance with legally mandated procedures designed to protect employees. (Consult your legal counsel.)
Although not necessarily unfair labor practices, the following conduct may result in invalidation of an election:
Campaigning on company time and premises within 24 hours of an NLRB-scheduled election. Meetings held off-premises may take place under special circumstances.
Reproducing and distributing official NLRB ballots and showing employees how to mark them.
Discussing the union with employees in a supervisor’s office, regardless of the non-coercive tenor of your remarks.
Prohibiting distribution of union literature in non-work areas during non-work time, such as in the lunchroom during the lunch hour.
Requiring employees to wear “Vote No” buttons in the plant or office.
Did you see us out there this morning? The “I Stand” people? On California Blvd, in front of the hospital? Lots of employees arriving to work honked or gave us thumbs up. A few drove by, eyes averted.
This is NOT just about nurses! It is about all of us!
PT/OT, Speech Pathologists, Dietitians, Medical Technologists, Pharmacy Techs, Phlebotomists, PCAs and Housekeepers and Transport- this is about you too.
If the CNA is successful in their drive to represent RNs, you will be approached by the SEIU. It might already have happened. You see, the CNA has an agreement with SEIU. CNA tries to rally the nurses and get enough cards signed to call for an election. If they are successful, then the SEIU comes behind them for the rest of the employees.
Everyone needs to understand what a union can and cannot do for us. Many people think it will somehow improve patient care. Use the internet to educate yourself and others- all of the information about SEIU and CNA is there.
Here’s a link to an article about how CNA and SEIU came to make this deal. The source does not represent the politics of the “iStand people” but it does paint an interesting picture of union politics.
“Physicians, nurses and other health care professionals make powerful life-saving teams in hospital settings across the globe. Today, nurses are full partners and leaders in the health care process. But the fact is their role in patient care is unmatched. Because of their level of patient engagement, they are the bridge between patients and the health care system, the moral compass for patients’ rights and privacy.”
This is nursing. We advocate for our patients. We work with our physicians, other healthcare professionals and caregivers as well as hospital administration, as full partners, using our voices to contribute to the care of patients. If we allow the union in, we lose this ability to advocate for ourselves, and become simply employees.
I watched a sad scene unfold recently when the union was on our campus, attempting to cause discord and organize in support of the union. A Huntington nurse sat with a union representative. This nurse was approached by a hospital leader. The leader asked the nurse if they could talk. The nurse looked to the union organizer who began to “speak for the nurse.” The leader stopped the union representative, and again asked the nurse if they could talk. The nurse, hesitating, looked at the union representative again. He shook his head. The nurse quietly replied “No, I guess not.”
How disappointing that a nurse would readily give up his/her voice to someone who is not a nurse. How is this good for our hospital? How is this good for us nurses, individually and collectively as the profession of patient advocates? And mostly, how can this possibly be good for our patients?
The California Nurse’s Association (CNA) is not really about “Patient Safety”- they are about increasing membership so that the union officials can make bigger salaries. It’s a sad state of affairs when we give up our ability to negotiate change with our administration and let a union take our voice. If we are unable to advocate for ourselves, how in the world can we be expected to advocate for our patients?