What are people saying


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

What are people saying

  1. 1. Nursing Arbitration begins September 30th 2011.<br />The facts;<br />On April 2011 the Hawaii State Nurses (HGEA Unit 9) rejected a Governor Neil Abercrombie proposed continuation of a 5 % pay cut on 2009 wages for the next 2 years.  HGEA is the largest labor union in the state with more than 42,000 total members. Unit 9 is made up of 1,561 Nurses, (majority are employed in HHSC) work at State-run facilities that provide acute medical care, psychiatric care, and rural health care services throughout Hawaii.   Other than Oahu, Hawaii, Kauai and Maui counties rely heavily on the State facility for acute medical care for Hawaii’s residents and tourists. <br />Since the ”No” vote, Nurses have reached out to the State to determine their willingness to address issues facing nurses in institutional settings. The State has not been responsive, it is the State administration that retains control of negotiations according to collective bargaining law.<br />Nurses have also had informal discussions with the HHSC regarding possible resolution to the various concerns expressed by acute care hospital nurses. Issues included pay inequity with private sector acute nurses; recruitment difficulties in various facilities; and working condition issues caused by short staffing.<br />Wages:<br />HGEA's executive director, Randy Perreira, said their wages are not competitive and are "woefully behind the private sector." State Nurses are paid 30-37% less in wage & benefits than private Nurses in the State. The starting salary for an HGEA Nurse is $57,828. Sutter Health, a nonprofit in northern California, communications director Karen Garner told Medscape Medical News."We're committed to offering our nurses competitive wages and benefits," adding that the average full-time Sutter nurse under a CNA contract earns $136,000 a year.<br />In 2009, Step Movements, “pay for experience” was eliminated. “Pay for experience” helps to retain and recruit experienced Nurses by compensation for special skills and experience; which are desperately needed. A Nurse with 15 years ICU experience should not have to work for the same pay as a new Nurse with no experience. The State of Hawaii is suffering from a shortage of experienced Nurses due to the above conditions and the Governor’s advisory board, The Hawai'i State Center for Nursing, projects progressively larger shortages in the future. <br />"The physicians (the ones that have any brains) depend upon an experienced nurse to continuously assess the patient and to note changes in the patient and interpret what that change might mean, taking immediate action if needed or consulting with the physician.  Without the experience, which takes years to learn and accumulate, the patient will always have a bad outcome."<br />Benefits or Deficits: <br />Hospital Administration and politicians often publically complain that State Nurses’ salaries are less because the benefits are much greater than the private sector Nurses; False. <br /> The statement that State Nurses receive 55 -65 days off per year is grossly False. <br />Twenty-one days are sick leave. Unless you have a catastrophic illness you do not use them; in fact, if you try to use those days you will be put on “Sick Leave Abuse” and reprimanded. Every time you are sick you are then required to visit the Emergency Room, at State expense, no matter what the time of day. This is done to discourage the use of sick days which are given as a benefit ? What is true is that many Nurses work when ill because of staffing shortages. <br />Thirteen days are holidays; hospitals are a 24/7 operation and Nurses have to work holidays; Nurses work Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc. their compensation of OT does not compensate for time away from their families and in fact contributes to “Stress” and “Burn Out”. <br />That leaves 21 days vacation; again this depends on staffing levels and what the hospital can allow due to shortages. Nurses use days off whenever staffing requirements are met and this is often dictated by the State, not the often slanderous misinformation of 55-65 days given to the press by uninformed public figures from both political parties. So, the State tells you when and how long you can take a vacation; but, no matter, because you cannot afford a vacation anyway..<br />And what about the wages ? If you work 15 days you will be paid regular wages 20 days later; any over time will be paid 40 days later. The State withholds your regular pay for 20 days and any overtime pay for 40 days. That’s only if they don’t lose the paper work and make you resubmit it again; then you are waiting for another pay cycle. <br />Is this the Worker’s Paradise of State employment? Ask any Hawaii Nurse how they feel when elected officials on the TV news, radio, or newspaper slander them and their dedication to public service describing them as “self serving” and “not doing their share to help”. <br />Working conditions:<br />The exodus of new Nurses together with increasing workloads, and 60 hour work weeks are causing critically high stressful working conditions.<br />The Hawaii State Center for Nursing has produced the following studies: The CFN board consists of 14 members, only 2 are staff nurses, the majority are administrators some of which are appointed/recommended by the governor and HHSC.<br />Number & frequency of patient falls with resulting injuries due to short staffing, increased patient care requirements disproportionate to the number of nurses.<br />Frequency of mandatory overtime, or frequency of voluntary overtime.<br />Number and frequency of musculoskeletal injuries incurred by nurses, taking them out of the workforce.<br />The exodus of nurses leaving the profession due to working conditions. <br /> Nurse “Burn out”, and “Patient Safety”. This places the patients, the Nurses, and the State hospital at risk for life threatening medical errors. Inadequate and poorly monitored nurse staffing practices jeopardizes quality healthcare services, resulting in dangerous and costly medical errors, sub‐optimal patient outcomes, and higher rates of nursing staff turnover. The State hospital is a 24/7 operation with many Nurses working 12 hour shifts, sometimes 4 in a row. <br /> Nurses are 10 times more likely to be injured on the job than police or firemen. They care for the sick, injured, dying, mentally ill, substance abusers and their families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some Hawaii State Nurses and their families are eligible for public assistance; school food programs, health care coverage, etc.. they have to move back in with their parents and cannot afford to help their own children with school due to their own school loans for Nursing.The Hawaii State Nurse, which is highly trained, dedicated, and educated, is forced to find a second or third job just to pay their monthly bills. <br />“I have been a nurse for 16 years, and we are losing nurses because of worsening working conditions. I see more work place injuries and nurses going on disability. We work in a dangerous environment and are exposed to contagious diseases.”<br />Disappearing money<br />The State is currently spending 3 x more money on salaries for mainland companies to employ “Travel Nurses” rather than on fair wages for local Nurses. The State also spends your money to educate and train Nurses in Hawaii State colleges and hospitals, only to have them move out of State or take jobs at private facilities for better pay. The State is spending millions of dollars on vacant buildings, renovations, and equipment despite the human cost.<br />What the politicians are saying..........<br />“I hope to continue to identify and work toward the removal of barriers that impede nurses from practicing to their full capabilities in order to expand access to high quality care to all the citizens of Hawaii.” Amy Stone Murai, testimony to the Members of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection, 4/3/2011 for reappointment to the State Board of Nursing"There is already a significant wage disparity between nurses at public and private facilities". Jonathan ElkinLegislative AssistantMazie K. Hirono (HI-02)"Ensuring that our State's nurses, in the public sector, are appropriately compensated for their skill and dedication". Daniel InouyeUnited States Senator<br />“Nurses perform the majority of our health-care services,.” “I think we are certainly going to have a severe nursing shortage in Hawaii,” Barbara Mathews, executive director of the Hawaii State Center for Nursing, which was established by the Legislature in 2003 specifically to address the nursing shortage through recruitment, retention and research initiatives. <br />"Take it or leave it".  “Shared sacrifice” "We're all in this together"  “attack our problems instead of attacking each other.” "This is a question of what's an injury to one, is an injury to all and we should all stick together and work together. But their (Nurses) view was the other workers really weren't as good as they were. I took exception to that," "Maybe that’s why they didn’t go down to the Legislature and work for you (Nurses), because maybe the conedroppers and the clerks and so on thought that that’s what you think of them. And so they didn’t show up for you." "First, we are strengthening our economy and creating good jobs for people so they can do more than just make ends meet."Neil AbercrombieHawaii State Governor<br />“The Governor and cabinet, are receiving the same 5% pay reduction and 50/50 EUTF split as all other employees. When it comes to legislators, here's how it works: Act 57, HB575 (http://ow.ly/6bFE9) extended what was their pay structure prior to June 30, 2011 to last until December 31, 2013. This amount represents a 5% reduction from their 2009 levels. You are correct, however, that just prior to 2009, legislators got a 36% raise. (-- Josh Levinson from the Governor's staff)"<br />What the public is saying..................."I give the nurses credit. They are warning Abercrombie that they will leave for greener pastures, just as some teachers and cops have, if all he has to offer them is a guilt tripping admonition that they need to sacrifice more.""Well I hope for his sake he doesn’t have to get medical treatment at a state hospital. He is a goner if thats the case".<br />"Abercrombie is forcing the nurses who care for our children's health and the teachers who educate them out of the state!"<br />“All elected officials and their families should be required to use only State facilities for their health care needs ; then lets see how things change.”<br />"The nurse’s took a bold stand to fight for their rights and were the only bargaining unit within HGEA to vote down the Governor’s proposal. I have no friends, family etc..working as a private nurse or nurse in state hospitals but these nurses are waaaaaay underpaid working in deplorable conditions and for the Gov. to ask that the nurse’s share in the sacrifice is a reflection of just how stupid the public is when he has double pensions and benefits from serving in Congress…the Governor speaks with a fork tongue and double speaks ""Those nurses overwhelmingly voted for him, as did the retirees whose pensions he wants to tax and upon whom he wants to shift more medical costs. His stumbling, incoherent messaging, despite the occasion nod to rhetoric of “labor solidarity” and “shared sacrifice,” suggest he cares more about the interests of the Hawaii Venture Capitalists than Hawaii’s working and middle class families.""a mass exodus of nurses might be exactly what is needed to get Neil’s attention.""There would have been a lot more votes from HGEA members against the contract had members not misunderstood the “most favored nation” clause. The nurses only voted what a lot of other members were thinking. They have guts and I expect a lot of “conedroppers” and “clerks” are rooting for them from the sidelines.""Where is the “sacrifice” ? Nah, more easy to tax the kid drinking soda pop. Tax the pensions of retired folks. And tell the unhappy nurses to “Move if you don’t like it.”<br />“If they do not give the nurses more money and benefits you're going to see an exodus from our rural state hospitals,” said mediation expert Michael Nauyokas “We're just gonna end up paying overtime and we're gonna end up with a bigger bill.”<br />"If nurses wanted higher pay, they would have left a long time ago. They stayed because either they didn’t want to move from Maui, they like the benefits, or they can’t get hired anywhere else."<br />“The cost-cutting trend toward compartmentalizing a nurse’s duties, then training unlicensed personnel to do some of those tasks, adds to burnout among seasoned nurses, too. This is partly due to the increased responsibility they have for other workers.”<br />"Without RNs, some health care providers (e.g., hospitals, nursing homes and home care agencies) may be forced to limit or discontinue services." Even if they continue to provide services, having fewer nurses could affect patient safety. Hawaii's plight is intensified by a population aging faster than the rest of the nation. While demands for care are increasing, baby boomers -- the bulk of registered nurses and nursing educators -- are retiring."<br />What are Nurses saying.........................<br />"The intimidation tactics that were used to try and get us to vote yes (ratify) the latest contract. Presently our management is spreading the word that we are going to lose arbitration, and will have to pay back the 5% cut we didn't agree to.""Amazing!?!?!? Is there no end to the misplaced priorities and wasteful spending? Who do they expect will care for this influx of medical patients"<br />The state needs to suspend "Economic assault on the working women of Hawaii and stop trying to balance the budget on the backs of the nurses and teachers." Victoria Dennis, MSN, CCRN, FNP-BC" My hospital has lost over 89 nurses in the past two years to other organizations that pay better or because they had to move back to the mainland to makes ends meet. There has got to be equality for our nurses or we will just keep on losing them.”<br />“All we want is a fair share; not the lowest wages in the nation!!!!”<br /> “In compensation, the two things that shocked me were the job rate pay system, and the absence of weekend differentials. Everywhere I've ever been on the mainland the employers realize those are prime shifts and nurses working them are compensated accordingly. Hawaii is probably about three years behind the mainland”<br />“It is crucial that we see some sort of increase to put us equal to private sector or nurses will leave and there will be very poor moral d/t the hardworking fighting for nothing. Retirement doesn't matter when you can't keep nurses, people have to pay their bills!”<br />“What is a hospital without Nurses ? You can spend all the money in the world on new buildings, equipment, and physicians but it will be to no end without Nurses; for who will take care of the patients. The Nurse is the center of 24/7 care in the hospital. Nurses are the core of the hospital. If a patient simply needs a physician they go to the doctor's office. Patients come to the hospital because they need Nursing care that will greatly impact their life, their family’s life, the overall health of their community and the economic life blood of our economy. The value the State places on Nurses is the value our State places on the Health and Well being of its people. Without quality nurses the hospital is just another building.”<br />"This is unbelievable! There is no accountability in our elected officials. There is no honor either! These are the type of things we need to keep in mind when elections are held. Unfortunately, HGEA will probably endorse Abercrombie again. If my family operated our budget like the State of Hawaii, we'd be broke, homeless, and out of work!""I hope all of this wasteful spending with lack of oversight, and now another new layer of bureaucracy, is presented at arbitration to expose that they do have the ability to pay.""some of the issues that HGEA and HNA members face are the same...Like you, I have been blocked by HNA from my own union's HNA FB page. I cant post any questions or comments. I have only been paying union dues for the past 19 years! I am not a "voice that counts!" The reason I was "blocked" was because I was asking too many questions!""enough already...we are not going to take it anymore. I support the nurses, teachers, police, fire and all the ancillary departments that keep this state running! We deserve fair wages and benefits, comparable to the private sector and the governing representatives that we voted in to represent us not screw us. UNITED WE STAND!!""it seems your request on the Governor's facebook page asking for your step movement back since we are in the black has been deleted!!! Have you been blocked?? If so welcome to the club."<br />“I don't want to rely on the same empty promise again. It would be nice to trust that they have the staff nurses best interests at heart, but their actions speak far louder than their words. They continue to offer extravagant private contracts to a select few at the expense of those of us that devoted our careers to MMMC and the health and welfare of our community. They continue with wasteful spending on logo changes, consultants, private contracts, $70,000/month for an empty medical building, & traffic lights that increase the noise and remind us how unappreciated we are and the lack of respect for our profession by the administration. It is frustrating to see administration & the select few "travelers, consultants and physicians" have outrageous salaries, vacation and retirement benefits with housing allowances & bonuses that are no where near those of us that are at the core of operating the hospital by caring for the patients at the bedside for long shifts. It is annoying that they have the nerve to use the media and other resources to try to give nurses a bad name by portraying us as greedy, uncaring and ungrateful in the public eye. They exaggerate our time off and then say that they are misquoted, but never follow thru with a retraction to show the true plight of the state public nurses. We need to not let them take more away from us, and stay united and strong in our fight to bridge the gap.”<br />