What We Might Lose if We Bring in CNA Incorporated

CNA is a corporation. Their business is convincing you to vote them in so you can pay them dues. We have a lot to lose though, and I think we need to be aware of the risks. Even the NLRB says that “collective bargaining is potentially hazardous for the employee… and they might end up with less benefits.”

First off, our checks will most likely be smaller:

Analysis of earnings now and with a union revised on 3-28-15

Other things to lose:

  • Overtime
  • Matching contributions to our 403b plans
  • Some PTO and EIR
  • Bereavement Leave
  • Free parking
  • PPO insurance mostly paid by the hospital. When CNA negotiated Keck’s latest contract, Keck got switched to an HMO plan, and if the Keck employees are hospitalized at Keck or anywhere else they have to pay 20% of the bill. A co-worker’s 5 week hospital stay, for which the bill was   1 million dollars cost her nothing at Huntington. $0.00. Zero. As an employee of Keck it would have cost her $200,000.  Another co-workers hospital stay (2 days) was $25,000. As a Keck employee she would have been responsible for $5000, but as a Huntington employee it cost her nothing.
  • We could see our copays go up dramatically.
  • We might lose our primary care doctors because most of us see physicians who don’t take HMO insurance. The above might not seem like a big deal when you are young and relatively healthy. Even the youngest, healthiest employees among us can be injured on a hike, a walk around the block or even walking down the stairs in our very own house.
  • Discounted food in the cafeteria or increases in prices of the food there.

The labor union corporations need nurses to support the other unions. Membership in other unions has decreased dramatically in other states as they become “Right to Work” states. This means there cannot be compulsory union member ship as a requirement to hold a job. They talk us into it by promising huge raises. CNA contributed almost $5 million dollars to political candidates last year. They “loaned” 5 million to NUHW. They made a $20 million profit. If they are voted in at Huntington, we will pay them almost $2 million a year in dues.

In Gloria Sanchez-Rico, we have a leader who is visionary and passionate about nursing. Let’s see where she takes us. Give her a chance to show what we can do together. Without a third party corporation that doesn’t really care about patient safety, or patients or even the nurses they say they represent. 

I stand with Huntington Hospital, our patients, our leaders and our employees. Please show up on April 15th or 16th to vote no. If you need a ride, let us know. We will organize car pools for  employees who are not working those days. Email huntingtonnurse@gmail.com.

#iStandwithHuntington  #voteNOcna

CNA Supporters Spreading Silly Rumors Again

Today CNA supporters sent texts to nurses around the hospital about how the PFC had patients on their unit and they personally had SIX patients. Their big point was “What are you going to do in court when they ask you why you accepted the assignment?” and “You can’t say anything and you will lose your license!” It’s quite amazing to us how many false and/or silly rumors these nurses have started. I have to tell you that this is NOT TRUE.

Nurses do NOT lose their licenses for accepting the assignment that their unit gave them. Nurses lose their licenses when they do things like engaging in willfully harming patients, substance abuse, or get convicted of crimes (I’ve seen nurses convicted of animal abuse, child abuse, drug dealing, pimping, theft, murder and others lose their license- these have all been listed on the BRN website.) Not once have I seen competent nurses who acted in good faith lose their license.

A nurse might lose his or her job because they willfully disregarded a safety mechanism set in place to prevent errors AND showed no remorse for the error that occurred. I’ve seen nurses keep their jobs when they did something that mistakenly bypassed safety policies  but they were genuinely upset about it and concerned for the patient’s welfare.

I do a little Nursing Standard of Care expert work in my free time. It is my experience that hospitals support their nurses. They cover the liability related to the error. They make sure that the nurse is okay psychologically, and receives whatever remedial training is necessary. If it is a system issue, the hospital administrators take it seriously and work to come up with a better solution. Nobody loses his or her job or license. Each person involved learns from the mistake and most likely becomes a better nurse as a result. But lose their license? Even if they had six patients on the day the error occurred? Doesn’t happen. And if you believe that it does, you’ve been drinking that CNA kool-aid again.

Remember that Thing Called a Recession?

What CNA supporters seem to have forgotten is that we have spent the better part of 8 years in a recession. At least our wages were never frozen like they were back in the 1990s. Most of us were grateful to have well paying jobs. By the way, do those council people who think nurses need the protection of a union realize that the RNs complaining about no raises because they are at the top of the scale understand that an RN who went to a diploma school (2-3 years of school) and has not received any more schooling, who works 72 hours (6 twelve hour shifts) per pay period  makes more than 109,000 per year? Do they know that? And if they work just a bit of overtime they can easily top $125,000 per year? Did you know that? A lot of non-hospital union members earned ZERO dollars per year through parts of the recession because there were no jobs. Unions took a look around, and said “In what field is the most job growth expected to occur over the next 25 years? Healthcare? Let’s grow union representation in that field.”

Things have been looking up in the world lately. More jobs, the economy is improving. The hospital has been slowly replacing things that were scaled back over those years. Sure we still have bad days, and those are always the ones that people remember. It’s human  nature to remember the day your PFC had 5 patients or you had to discharge all 4 of your patients and admit 4 patients with no PCA because your PCA got pulled to be a sitter. Those days are so horrible, we remember them, and not the 40 days preceding them that were patient care as usual.

Here is why unions want into hospital business so desperately.  Union membership has fallen in every other job category. http://www.workforcefreedom.com/blog/union-membership-continues-decline.

They need us to be able to support the other unions. Recently we heard that CNA donated money earned from nurse’s dues to the AFL-CIOs in Chicago, Florida, Maryland and many others, and to other unions (Texas Teacher’s Association for one) for who knows what reason. Not to mention the $25K per year to the California Democratic Party and other contributions to Democratic candidates. Whether you are a Democrat or not, it has to frustrate you that their donations gain them access to Democratic politicians easier than you personally can get it.  If we chose to allow a union in our hospital, 2.2% of your gross, to a maximum amount that works out to around a dollar an hour and increases by about 5% each year, buys CNA access to those politicians. Take a look at the information available through this link. http://truthaboutcna.com. You have to scroll through a lot of tax forms but what you find there may be surprising.

California is a not a “Right to Work” state. If a union is voted in , it will be mandatory that we belong to the union whether we want to or not, if we want to keep our jobs. While we can claim a religious objection to union membership, we must still pay the part of our dues used for collective bargaining (which includes campaigns at other hospitals). That amount is about 90% of the total dues. Whether you want to or not. Whether you agree with their politics or not. Whether you think we need whatever the union has decided to use as their bandwagon of the month or not (think about the “Ebola crisis”).

Did you know that the CNA funded opposition to mandatory flu shots for hospital employees? They did. Even though the flu kills tens of thousands of Americans every year. But they do want each and every hospital to be prepared for a rare viral disease like Ebola that so far has been endemic to Africa. There ended up being two people who caught it from a person who got it in Africa. Those two people both survived. It’s likely we will never see it. Your grandma is ten thousand times more likely to die from the flu she caught from her unvaccinated nurse than she is from Ebola. But CNA says “let’s not require flu shots for healthcare workers” and uses dues paid by nurses to fund the opposition.

Do we want to be represented by a union just so other trade unions can stay afloat? My friends who are teachers, both here in California and in other states tell me that they go five or six years without contracts. Five or six years without a raise. Do we really want to be represented by a union that opposes public health measures like flu shots? No thank you.


Do the Math

Since most discussions with union supporters eventually seem to resort to the promises to make more money, it seems we ought to take a serious look at this. The example is for a nurse making $40/hour. The same principles apply for employees looking to make more with NUHW. We are happy to help you figure this out based on your current rate of pay.

Do the Math 3-7-15

Important Things about Voting

Updated 3/7/15

CNA is up to it’s usual deceptive behavior. Let’s look at the latest.                                                         As we learn about new tactics CNA supporters are using we will add them to this post. The most recent will be at the top.

CNA: You can contact the National Labor Relations Board and register to get a mail in ballot.

iStand: Not true. Another deceptive piece of misinformation designed to steal away votes against the CNA. You must vote in person. 

CNA: PFCs can’t vote.

iStand: CNA tried to exclude PFCs as well as Care Coordinators, CNSs, Educators, Cancer Center RNs, Navigators and others. The National Labor Relations Board disagreed  with them on every single job category. We can all vote. 

CNA: “If you want to vote no, that’s ok. Just please write the reason on the card.”

iStand: No! The voting card will be very simple. It will say “Do you wish to be represented by the union?”      Yes    No       If you write anything else on the card your vote makes it invalid, which means your card is thrown away, and that means YOUR vote doesn’t get counted. Do NOT mark anything on the card except as directed on the card.

CNA: “If you don’t want the union, you don’t need to vote.”

iStand: Please, everyone, vote. Please vote. It is so important that you vote if you do not want the union. If you live far away, and are not working that day and would like to carpool please let us know. We will find away to get you in to vote. Email us at huntingtonnurse@gmail.com. 

Do you know that if you if there are 1200 eligible voters, and 800 vote, and 401 vote for the union, we get the union. This means the union only got ⅓ of the possible votes but they win the election and we all pay dues. 

And like Councilman Victor Gordo, treasurer and secretary for Local 777 Plumbers and Pipefitters Union said “raise your hand if that sounds like a good idea.” What? Nobody is raising their hands? Smart people.



Union Cronies Don’t Like iStandwithHuntington

The following was discovered through a little detective work on the part of iStand members.

Employees supporting the CNA posted a letter to Steve Ralph in our break rooms yesterday, signed by people referred to as a concerned community members. The letter called the actions of of the iStand nurses deplorable, and accuses Administration of allowing their actions. Whatever you think of our actions, and that depends on which side of the controversy you sit, you should know a little more about the people we have involved here.

Who are these people? Why are Pasadena Clergy, Community and Council members involved in trying to bring a union to our hospital?

It turns out they are all know each other through a few local union organizations. Victor Gordo is  a labor attorney and is currently Local 777 (Plumber and Pipefitter’s union) secretary and treasurer before he got into politics. He has no doubt received contributions from one or more unions for the mayoral race. Not exactly an elected official with a fair and unbiased viewpoint, despite how he tried to play himself off at the press conference last week. That and multiple iStand RNs have emailed him asking to speak with him with no response. I talked with him about this at the press conference and he asked for my contact info. I gave him my phone number and email. Still nothing, Clearly he has no intention of contacting me, ever.

Jacque Robinson has relationships with the Teachers’ union, AFL-CIO and other unions according to her campaign statement. Ditto for union support for her mayoral race. But it explains why she looked so annoyed at the press conference. She had to stand next to her opponent, who didn’t even bother to introduce her. While I understand the relationship between candidates who are Democrats and labor unions, it has always made me uneasy. It feels like support they provide was purchased through campaign contributions- and sometimes it does not play well to their constituents when they act like union bullies. It’s sort of like the relationship between the fundamentalists and the Republicans, and how stupid Republican politicians look as they have to pretend that evolution does not exist.

Joan Depew is John Grula’s wife (or at a minimum, they live together). John Grula has already spewed much venom at Huntington- believing stories of nurses not being able to take breaks and being understaffed. But John Grula has not responded to multiple requests that he speak with iStand RNs. Several of us have emailed him in the past 6 months, with not a single response.

All of the individuals who signed the letter are associated with labor organizations or one or two other organizations, both also connected to labor unions. One of them is ACT, a local political organization that sends advisories to local voters on the candidates for whom they recommend voting. They are always Democrats. Here’s what they about themselves:  “We have helped elect numerous candidates to state and local office who are committed to positive change. Some have said we were substantially responsible for turning the Pasadena area blue.”

The other is CLUE-LA. It’s an organization that unites clergy and lay people to work towards economic justice- often through unionization. And perhaps that’s something that some workers need. qWhen you look through the information from CLUE-LA it seems like a good organization- helping people whose wages are being stolen from them – it appears they help sweat shop workers and others who might need assistance going up against dishonest employers. But Huntington isn’t like that. I have never worked for a company that is a bigger stickler for following all state and federal laws regarding payment of wages.

Nurses, however are college educated. Clearly, the folks involved with the union related organizations don’t understand that. They don’t understand nurses role in healthcare. And they don’t understand how the culture at Huntington is what makes us excellent and makes us unique. .We advocate for our patients. As a matter of fact- that is one of our biggest roles- to speak for our patients when they are unable to speak for themselves. We stand up for them with physicians, with Administration and whoever else we need to get lined up to help them. We are innovative. We are collaborative. We figure out how to make things happen. We know how to find resources to help our patients. So you’d think we should be able to advocate for ourselves- right?

That’s how the iStand members feel. We can use our own voices to advocate for ourselves and work with Administration to solve our problems. We know the hospital isn’t perfect but we can effect change without the union. We don’t need a union to speak for us.