Talks Provide an Opportunity for Management to Address Our Staffing Concerns to Avert Strike Set for Thursday, May 23
We have just learned from the Federal Mediator that management has agreed to the four dates that had been proposed for negotiations over the next 10 days. The talks will be held on May 14 (with the Memorial team), May 15 (with the University team), May 20 (Memorial) and May 21 (University).
We have made it clear to management that we need safe limits on nurses’ patient assignments (6 patient assignments are never safe), no further erosion of the staffing grids, and to provide resource/charge nurses on every unit with no assignments or strict limits on their assignments. We have also called for the addition of staff to the emergency departments on both campuses, which includes the addition of STAT RNs to provide care to critical patients or patients in crisis, and for the hospital to meet national standards in the maternity unit and NICU. We have also offered a reasonable compromise proposal to address the hospital’s key issue on the pension, while calling for them to withdraw their proposals to increase health insurance costs for part time nurses and to cut time off benefits. Finally we expect management to acknowledge our right to form a single bargaining unit (the same as every other union at UMMMC) and the protection of our union rights as new services are established in the system. These are fair and reasonable proposals and there is no reason for management not to work with us to achieve these goals.
We appreciate the tremendous support nurses on both campuses have given the committees during these tense and trying times, and we know that you are ready and willing to do what we all need to do to protect our patients, our license and integrity of our union contract.
You can expect management to continue their efforts to try to frighten or confuse you into backing off your stand for safe patient care and a fair contract in the days to come. Be aware that they are paying a union-busting law firm hundreds of thousands of dollars, dollars that could and should be spent on safer patient care, to spread rumors, outright lies and fear among the bargaining unit. The MNA has seen these same tactics used by this same law firm at other hospitals on other nurses who have stood up for their patients. Before you believe any rumor, before you accept any word uttered by management, or words repeated to you from others not in the bargaining unit, we urge you to contact a committee member for the real story. You can also email David Schildmeier at the MNA at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or rumors you are hearing so he can share them with the negotiating committees, and also get you an answer with the correct information.
Most important of all, know that going out on strike is your legally protected right and that you and your committee have given the hospital every opportunity, including opportunities in the negotiations to be held over the next 10 days to do the right thing and finally heed our pleas for safer conditions to fulfill the true mission of our hospital, which is to provide quality care to the patients we all serve. If we end up on strike for one day, that is entirely their decision, and if they decide to follow through with their threat to lock you out, then that is their shameful decision as well. Through it all, know that our cause is just, and that if we all stick together, if we stay 2,000 nurses strong, we will prevail.
For those who interested, you can view the MNA press release on our strike notice by visiting: http://www.massnurses.org/news-and-events/p/openItem/8301
A number of stories about our call for a strike have already appeared in the media as a result of this press release. Below are some links to articles in the Telegram, Worcester Magazine, GoLocal Worcester, WCVB Channel 5, the Worcester Business Journal and the Boston Globe. Local radio stations have also been running announcements of our strike. Here are some links to those articles.
We also encourage all nurses who are concerned about the media coverage about this strike to offer their own opinions by submitting letters to the editor to the Telegram over the next several days. Let them know what it is like to practice with too many patients to care for. Feel free to contact David Schildmeier if you have questions about any letter you write. Once done, send them to email@example.com. Include your name, address and phone number and keep your letters no longer than 250 words.
Here is a great letter that appeared in the Telegram over the weekend, Let’s keep these coming.
New Open Meeting Scheduled
Thursday,May 16 at 1:30 & 6 pm
Pre-Strike Rally on Wednesday, May 22 at 6 pm
Coral Seafood Restaurant
225 Shrewsbury St.
For updates on negotiations and strike preperation
What You Can Do
In the meantime, we encourage all members to stand together and to show their solidarity for this cause by:
- Wearing black and/or blue scrubs every Wednesday, what we are calling MNA Black and Blue Day, to show our solidarity as nurses stand up against management’s dangerous staffing practices and onerous contract proposals.
- Wearing your "UMMMC Nurses Stronger Together" and the new "I Will" Button every day.
- Contact your committee representative to sign up for the strike picket schedule.
- Staying informed by signing up for our email blasts, or by visiting and joining our "University Messenger" Facebook group page, located at: https://www.facebook.com/massnurses#!/groups/152126544939667/?fref=t or our " Memorial-Hahnemann Messenger Facebook group page, located at: https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/529295190425023/?fref=ts