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A Petaluma Community member calls it like it is - A letter to the editor of the Argus Courier from the last week of June  

 

Conditions for Nurses

EDITOR: I’ve been informed that the Petaluma Valley Hospital nurses have been working without a contract for four years. Isn’t it time that the corporation that manages the hospital, Providence/St Joseph Health, treat the PVH nurses as well as they do the nurses at their better-favored hospital, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital? I’m writing in support of the PVH nurses.

As a Petaluma resident of 34 years, I’m well-familiar with the staff and conditions at PVH. As an RN of 47 years, I’m well-familiar with the nurses at the hospital and the standards of nursing practice. As a nursing professor of 17 years, I’m well-familiar with the level of nursing care at most hospitals in the Bay Area.

Recently when I’ve had nursing students at PVH, I’ve had to reassure them that working conditions for nurses in most hospitals were better than what they were witnessing. I explained that furniture, equipment, and supplies were usually better updated and more available in hospitals with better budgets, and that the working conditions for nurses were better at other hospitals.

St Joseph Health spent PR funds touting the nurses as heroes during the COVID-19 public health crisis. I agree. They are heroes who absorbed the overload of patients sent from Santa Rosa Memorial with patients housed in areas where in-patients were never cared for including an unused patient unit and the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit. This required an incredible amount of overtime on the part of the nurses who of course canceled other plans to take care of their patients. These heroes were given insufficient and inappropriate personal protective equipment while the appropriate N95 face masks donated by so many in the community from fire supplies were licked up and not distributed to the nurses.

These heroes are truly irreplaceable. With salaries at 23 to 37% below nurses in other North Bay Hospitals, when frustrated nurses quit PVH, the hospital has been unable to recruit new nurses requiring the hospital to hire more costly traveling and temp nurses.

Leslie R. Crane
Petaluma

PVH Nurses are sharing this letter with the Petaluma Community and it is being sent to

Financial Donors of Petaluma Valley Hospital...

 

To Providence/St Joseph Health (PSJH-Operators), Petaluma Health Care District (PVH owners), Petaluma community, Petaluma Valley Hospital Donors, Press and Social Media:

This is a letter from your PVH bedside caregivers. We are by your side every moment of every day during your stay at PVH.  We are your advocates. When we believe our patients are endangered by bad management decisions, unsafe staffing, or lack of resources, we have a duty to speak up. Our contract keeps you safe by allowing us to advocate for you. Your PVH Nurses have been trying to negotiate a safe contract for over two years. For far too long the Providence/St Joseph Health (PSJH) negotiator/lawyer has adopted an attitude of “my way or the highway”. Ask any Nurse attending negotiations. They will tell you just how little PSJH is listening to its experienced bedside nurses. That is dangerous.  

Let us tell you about the obstacles PSJH has thrown up, how those affect you and how they hinder caregivers’ ability to provide safe, quality patient care at PVH.

Unsafe Staffing

For years Nurses have begged PVH management to staff safely. To do that management must staff to an accurate acuity system.  Some years ago, Nurses put in their contract that PVH must use an accurate, verifiable patient acuity system. The RNs use that system to give each patient a “score”. The score reflects the amount of care a patient needs each shift.  The higher the acuity, the more time and resources needed.  For awhile management used the acuity system. Then they stopped.  Lately it has been a constant battle between bedside RNs and PSJH to keep PVH in compliance with State regulations regarding staffing. Recently the California Department of Public Safety came in to inspect PVH and found that management was not staffing to the acuity system. That agency, CDPH, reminds acute care hospitals that “It is imperative that hospitals staff according to patient acuity…it is far more important that hospitals pay attention to the patient classification system (acuity system) and the needs of the patient rather than the minimum staffing requirements. Section 70217(b).” Only when the State cited PVH did management begin staffing to acuity and yet to this day, it is an unending struggle to maintain safe staffing. This is because management doesn’t listen to bedside RNs, even when they speak up, advocating for patient safety. Nurses know what is safe, they advocate for it and should not have to be in this constant battle. Currently PSJH is attempting to undermine those same safe staffing language protections in our future Nurse’s contract currently being negotiated over. 

There is another PSJH process that can lead to unsafe staffing. It is called Department Productivity.  Department managers are apparently encouraged to meet or exceed their ‘productivity benchmark’.  Reducing staff by ignoring acuity is a way for managers to meet department benchmarks   We encourage you to ask St. Joe management about these practices. PVH bedside Nurses advocate for your safety. Proper staffing is a must to ensure that safety.   Enough is enough! We have asked PSJH to stop inflicting moral injury on front-line caregivers.  Allow us to do what is right for patients. Stop shredding the long time and tested safety language built into our RN contract.

Lack of Resources

PVH is currently having great difficulty attracting or retaining high quality, experienced Staff RNs. Too often a newly hired RN stays just long enough to observe the mistrust and acrimony between the Nurses and administration and as they also come to realize that we are paid 23%-39% less than all other Sonoma County hospitals, they choose to leave. Then they are gone, off to hospitals that value their professional staff. Even some of our experienced Nurses have recently quit after having worked at PVH for 20-30 years. The amount of money spent on the hiring and training of new grads and orienting experienced Nurses is astronomical. Approximately $25-$40K. Not a waste of money IF you can retain them, but this is not the case at PVH. The high volume of Travel Nurses, contract RNs just passing through PVH, is a sign that something is really wrong inside PVH. It is not surprising that the morale among caregivers is at an all-time low. We want PSJH to listen to front-line caregivers at PVH. We want PSJH to make it right. Give PVH caregivers the resources we need and empower us to do our jobs well.

Contract Takeaways that Endanger our Patients

PVH RNs have not asked for any significant contract enhancements. But PSJH is insisting on big takeaways in the current negotiations. PVH RNs will lose hundreds of thousands in lost compensation and lost benefits if PSJH gets what it wants. We can’t keep RNs now, what happens if all our good Nurses exit when these shameful proposals become a reality. In addition, PSJH wants to favor Temporary Travel Nurses over their own core staff. Travel Nurses are “passing through”. Travelers should be only used on a short-term basis to fill staffing holes until core staff can be recruited and placed in permanent positions. PSJH is insisting on new contract language that will drive current PVH RNs out of this hospital.  PSJH would deny core RNs a dependable schedule and a dependable paycheck. PSJH wants travelers in leadership positions when they are not familiar with PVH, are not staying long and are neither vested in our hospital or our community. While we appreciate the travelers that come through PVH, they are only temporary and should not take priority over dedicated core staff. PVH Nurses cannot understand why management would want this for PVH. It seems that in the end it would not support their bottom line, costing more money picking up the pieces of a fragmented, badly managed, unsafe hospital.  Just seems so short sighted.  We ask you to help us stop PSJH efforts to do this.  It is eroding our community hospital.  Help frontline care givers press any PVH operator to grow our hospital, not endanger it. 

Providence/St Joseph Health wants you to believe they care about their frontline caregivers. You’ve probably seen or heard the latest campaign slogan “Heroes Work Here.” PVH Nurses need you to know what is really going on inside the Hospital walls. You have a right to know. As a community member, a patient or family member, you are directly affected by what goes on in your community hospital. PVH Nurses want Petaluma Valley Hospital to thrive. We need Providence/St Joseph Health to treat PVH caregivers like the heroes they tell you we are. Empty slogans will not keep caregivers and patients safe.  Nurses need real change in PVH. We need a contract that honors the work we do and helps us recruit and retain top notch RNs.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Every word comes with our commitment to you. PVH Nurses ALWAYS have your best interest in mind. We have your back and we will advocate for you, always. We need your support to make Providence/St. Joseph Health do what is morally and ethically right for you, the patient, and for us, your caregivers.

RNs and all PVH front line workers will never stop fighting for your safety, EVER!

Please fight with us. Please email the executives at Providence/St Joseph Health and tell them to listen to front-line caregivers! Tell them to do the right thing! 

 

Tyler Hedden                                                                                                                    David Southerland

CEO St. Joseph Health, Sonoma County                                                                        VP of Operations for PVH

tyler.hedden@stjoe.org                                                                                                    david.southerland@stjoe.org

  

 

Thank you and with our deepest respect,

PVH Nurses

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: March 31st 2020

PVH Nurses, 

We hope you are all as well as you can be, and taking good care of yourselves and your families during this crazy time. There is a lot of information out there as we try to adjust to this new norm and stay safe. So many of our PVH nurses have been actively gathering information, raising questions, reaching out to the community for support, and sounding the alarm over working conditions. It has been amazing to witness. There is no possible way we could have accomplished all that we have done in just this week alone without each other’s help and a continued commitment to safety for us all. THANK YOU (you know who you are)! 

There is a lot to get everyone caught up on and there is always the danger of missing something important if an email is too long, so this will be a two-part email. One now and one tomorrow.

For today... Do you remember that piddily 2% wage increase the hospital offered a couple months back? They offered it on the condition that we would not be involved in an “Informational Picket” for 90 days, among other things. Well, this last week highlighted exactly why you NEVER EVER want to silence your ability to advocate for yourself or your patients. Your life could depend on it!

The IP scheduled for the 25th of March was originally going to be a combined last shot across the bow between SNP and NUHW before we might be looking at the need to strike. But then with COVID-19 and social distancing entering the picture. We thought at first to cancel the IP. In fact, we did take steps to do just that. But at the beginning of last week we found it necessary to go forward with the IP after all.

Nurses recognized that it was not possible to maintain social distancing within the hospital and that there are many people who have tested positive for COVID-19 who had never shown many symptoms. Given that we practice face to face report, use common areas, work shoulder to shoulder while turning patients etc… the Union sent out the recommendation to wear a mask at all times while in common areas. Nurses jumped on it but were met Tuesday morning by med-surg management telling nurses to take off their masks! Some nurses did who were unsure, but then the unit stuck together and masked up, refusing to compromise everyone’s safety. We also had a nurse who had a rule out COVID-19, who was brought into a manager’s office and chastised for wearing hospital issued scrubs instead of her own! She didn’t want to possibly take COVID-19 out into the community when she left work that day.

These were not isolated incidents and with management refusing to provide us with PPE, we had to get out and alert the community. So, the IP was back on! We had to find a way to alert the community to the danger we were being put in, but we had to do that without putting ourselves and them in danger. We had some old PPE that we pulled out of storage, kept our numbers of nurses to below 10, grabbed our signs and alerted the press! Side note: our CEO was walking around the hospital that day saying we were “wasting PPE” by being out there, but two things, 1) if raising awareness to the staff not being given PPE saves one life, is that worth 12 or so gowns and masks? 2) if we had been out there without PPE, would our CEO have labeled us a “danger to society” or something along those lines? We wonder.

The Argus is all over this story and is following our continued struggle with this employer very closely. We have the community gathering PPE to help keep us safe. The mayor has also joined in the search and has directed us towards a donation of 1000 N95 masks!

Long story short, and we expect this to be an ongoing struggle as the hospital attempts to cut costs during the pandemic, the Hospital is providing PPE. And these changes ONLY came about because you all banded together and got out and raised awareness! This is the power of a unified voice. If you want a mask, it will be provided. It needs to be the appropriate one, but a mask will not be denied. Scrubs are now also being offered currently to people in direct care of a rule out or confirmed case and for all ED staff, but there is talk of how to get all of us taken care of in this regard. More on this in part two.

Redeployment/Cross-training: The Hospital has sent a couple emails recently surrounding their wanting to “redeploy” nurses to other units and to other facilities during the pandemic. SNPs position is that any redeployment of a nurse from one unit or facility to another, outside of what is in our current contract, will be done on a volunteer basis on the part of the nurse, that safety for the nurse and the patients shall be maintained (this includes proper training), and that the nurse has the right to rescind the offer at any time. Main things: volunteer, safety and right to rescind. Got it?

Emergency 80 Hours of PTO: Hot topic. In your work email, the hospital is offering all benefited employees an emergency fund of 80 hours of PTO. This is a good gesture on the part of the hospital, but they don’t have it quite right. Talks are ongoing, and our expectation is that the conditions surrounding the 80 ETO fund are that it will be available to all nurses. Period. Our own PTO shall not be utilized during the pandemic unless a nurse decides to take a previously approved request for time off. Nurses will need PTO for sick instances, vacations or decompression time after the pandemic is over, and requesting them to empty their own PTO during a worldwide pandemic where they are putting their lives on the line is not acceptable. More on this to come too.

COVID-19 related information and requested expectations: We met with the Hospital via conference call this last Friday and they responded to the list of concerns and requests SNP made weeks ago. That list was sent via your personal email. If you didn’t see it, check your spam box. We will be sending our response to their responses this coming Monday and will forward that response to you in part two of this email so that you can see our stance on certain things, what the hospital has committed to doing as a response to our concerns, and what further questions or requests we have made of the hospital.

ADOs: Fill these out and keep them coming. Don’t settle for less than you need to keep your patients, yourselves and your license safe. Hospital lawyers don’t take breaks during pandemics. Any time you don’t have enough staff, are caring for a patient who’s level of care is not appropriate for your unit, anytime you don’t have the PPE or resources to do your job safely, fill out an ADO.

Negotiations: Remember those? If your team thought life wasn’t busy enough in trying to juggle home, work and negotiations, COVID-19 came along to add to the mix! However, we are continuing to negotiate. It is all to be done virtually which has some advantages. We are working on proposals and giving Rachel, the mediator, topics to discuss with the hospital in between sessions to keep the ball moving. Our next scheduled day to negotiate is on April 7th. We will update you as to how things sit after that day. We are hoping that being able to work virtually and in between session will speed the process up now and bring some closure to this chapter in our lives.

Stay unified. Just as staying united has given you the PPE you needed, staying united will get you the contract you need as well. The community is fully behind us, trusts us to speak up for them and keep them safe. With all eyes on hospital workers and community safety, the timing couldn’t be better.

Until next time,

PSNP Leadership

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: March 5th 2020

Hey Everyone,

We had Negotiations this last Tuesday.  We were joined at the table by the Federal Mediator.  We decided last month that the time had come to get her involved.  We finally had gotten enough Articles tentatively agreed upon to make what was outstanding managable and with the Hospital refusing to budge on those remaining and really important Articles, the timing was right.  Her name is Rachel and she spent the first half of the day with the Hospital and the second half of the day with our team going through the outstanding Articles and listening to our positions on why we are fighting for each of them.

Our next session will be on the 18th and she asked that we give her a few Articles to focus on and she will see if she can open up the lines of communication around those Articles and hopefully produce some movement.  

She is also the Mediator for NUHW and she is very aware of our upcoming Informational Picket and is also aware that if PSNP and NUHW can't come to an agreement with the Hospital soon, there is a good chance there will be a hospital-wide strike.  So, she is motivated to help if she can.

You are always encouraged to come and listen in on Negotiations.  Rachel is approachable and enjoyed having some of our Nurses in attendance the other day.  We will let you know as soon as we know, what room we will be in on the 18th.

Til then, focus on getting out to the actions your coworkers have set up these next few weekends and help where you can in the planning for the IP on the 25th.  Please help get as many people there as you can between 11am and 2pm.  We are gonna make some noise!

 

Thanks,

SNP Leadership

 

Another Historic First For PVH Advocates!

PVH Nurses, you have done it again! You’ve shattered records and expectations! Yesterday’s vote had 90% bargaining unit participation with a 93.5 % Yes vote!

It was a day filled with emotions. We set up the voting booth on the corner across the street from the NUHW workers strike line and there was no break in the action. We were afforded a great view of the strike line and the unity and collective resolve shown by our coworkers is inspiring. PVH has a lot of scrappy fighters to say the least! Basically everyone of us, both those who were striking and those who were voting for strike authorization and supporting wish we didn’t need to be out there, but we do. We are determined to get what our patients need, what we need and what is best for the life and longevity of our community hospital. That said, the day was really fun in so many ways. Our coworkers are our family away from our families and this sentiment was very apparent no matter which side of the street you were on! From kids and dogs dressed out in support to everyone on the line doing “The Wave” with their picket signs, there was a lot to be thankful for.

Together we will prevail!

One common topic was just how much money and effort this potential operator is spending to try and break our resolve to get what we need. They would rather put their money into fighting us than investing in us, investing in our hospital and investing on our community. Is this the kind of employer we want going forward? One that we have to fight with for basic rights and so that we can just remain competitive?

Reports are filtering in about the unhealthy working conditions and unsafe staffing that are occurring while our qualified and quality staff are locked out and you should know that the proper agencies have been notified. Thank you to all of you who have been documenting and reporting on what has been taking place within PVH’s walls while the strike and lockout continue. Keep up the great work!

Again, awesome job on the vote everyone. You have given your bargaining team the backing and support they needed. Public pressure is the game plan, but striking is now a real option if it comes to that.

With much gratitude,

SNP Leadership

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: Strike Authorization Vote

Hi PVH Nurses,

Thursday's session started off with some fireworks.  We responded verbally to the hospital's economic package and our response was not well received. As the Bargaining Unit nurses who were present can attest, we were very clear with admin as to why we were giving such a response. We wanted to give them some honest feedback on their package and about how their promoting of it was received by you. In your words, the economic package that they presented a few weeks ago was more than an insult to those of us who have been working now for years in our fight to get a safe contract. We have been bending over backwards to keep this hospital a place we want to work and a place that is safe for our patients to come to. We have been working in an understaffed and underpaid environment for a very long time. We went through the 'Memorandum" that the hospital had put out following their economic package which was so full of misleading and empty statements that it deserved some shared feedback from our nurses. Nurses felt straight out lied to in the memorandum. We passed-on some of the comments and feelings you shared with us around the different points and praises that were written in that memorandum. Basically, the memorandum made it sound like they had offered a good, competitive package and that they did this because they appreciate and want to honor all the hard work and dedication we continue to provide to our patients and our hospital. It sounded good on paper, but when nurses found out what was actually being offered, they were livid!

Know that as a Union made up of fellow nurses, we will NEVER EVER ask you to accept less than you deserve. You will not hear us asking you to ratify a contract that does not offer the protections you need and one that contains the economic component we need to be competitive with local hospitals and attract strong nurses. Their economic offerings have a long way to go before it would be acceptable.

One last thing on economics... the hospital wants to honor all the hard work and extra shifts everyone has been picking up over the years by offering NO RETROACTIVE PAY! How's that feel? Do you feel appreciated?

We are to the point now where we need to hold a Strike Authorization Vote.  This vote would give your Union Bargaining Committee the ability to call a strike if it was deemed necessary. To be clear, it is NOT a notice of our intent to strike. It is a chance for you as a group to send a warning to the hospital to be careful with their next steps in negotiations. Striking is serious business and we want to exhaust all efforts at the table and in the community before we would go down that road, but there does come a time when enough is enough. The vote will happen very soon, and your participation is a must. Everyone needs to show up and cast a ballot and the results have to be a strong, resounding, and united YES if we are going to get the contract we deserve!

There will be more information coming very soon as to the why's, how's, and benefits of conducting a Strike Authorization Vote. Included will be the dates and times the vote will be conducted, and everyone will be contacted personally prior to the vote. We are in the endgame now everyone. Time to engage in this fight. The light at the end of this tunnel is starting to show.

United for our patients.  United for our coworkers.  United for each other.

Important upcoming dates.

1. Monday the 11th. Groverman Hall from 4 to 6pm.  Monthly PSNP Board meeting. Your attendance is encouraged. Strike Authorization Vote and Joint Action with NUHW in December are big talking points.

2. Next Negotiation day is next Wednesday the 13th. 10 am in the computer lab in upper Burns Hall

3. Strike Authorization Vote on November 20th Place and time TBD

4. Joint Action/Community Forum/Dinner and Music planned for December 12th. Details to follow later


Thanks Everyone,

Jim Goerlich
PSNP President

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: Economics

Sorry for the delay here everyone. The fires really took over as the director of our lives for a bit. We hope everyone is safe and well.

The next negotiation session is this coming Thursday the 7th.  We are asking that as many of you who can make it, please do. We will be responding verbally to the hospital’s “economic package”.  In short, and for those of you who have looked over the details of the package can attest, this was proposal was an insult. After our last session, the hospital went around to the different units, talking their proposal up like what they had offered was something great. Presenting it as a proposal that would move us closer to a contract we could ratify and honor all the hard work we do.  This walk through/promotion by admin got a lot of you talking, but we are sure you would not be surprised to find out that the hospital was not forthcoming in their message about all the shortcomings and takeaways that are contained in their proposal.

It is essentially a slap in the face. We have been regularly understaffed for years at PVH because the hospital refuses to bring wages up (even though they have been saying they ‘want to’ publicly for years), making us comparable and competitive with other local hospitals. Because of this, hiring and retention have been extremely difficult to say the least. We continue to lose core staff, and the hospital has the gall to bring a wage offer that would continue to keep us well behind the community standard for years to come. Not to mention, no retro pay?!  Do they think they should just keep all our money that they have been withholding? Money which they have repeatedly said they would like to give us if they could?

In truth, the hospital’s economic package proposal is just an attempt to move this process along without first coming to agreement on the necessary non-economic pieces of our contract. They hope to move us to a best, last and final offer. Don’t be fooled by their less than truthful memorandums. There is still a lot of workplace environment items on the table that must be dealt with even if they were to present a wage and benefits package that was actually decent.

These are the big highlights:

- We are currently paid 19-20% less than SRMH, which is not even the community leader concerning wages.

- We are being offered what equates to an average 6% wage increase (the hospital presented it as a 3.5% - 9% wage increase weighted differently at the different tenure steps), with living wage increases of 1.75% every year thereafter for the following three years.

- PTO was decreased 16-40 hours per year depending on how many years you have worked at PVH.

- Disability Reserve accrual would be discontinued, and unused reserves would disappear within a year.

- Health Insurance Benefits rates would be tied to the Choose Well Program and would be changing altogether so far as PPO/EPO coverage.

- No retro offered for all the years we have not had a wage increase.

- One positive, St Joe will be increasing employer contributions to your 401k maxing at 9%. Sound good? Didn’t think so.

Next session, this Thursday, November 7th, upstairs in Burns Hall in the computer lab, 10 am start.  Come out and tell this employer (just by being present) you will not accept this weak, weak proposal. We will have copies of their complete package so you can read it for yourself.

PS. Be looking for some information coming your way very soon related to the ‘whys and whens’ of taking a Strike Authorization Vote. It is time to take this vote that would give us the authority to call a strike if need be.

Thanks and look forward to seeing you Thursday,

SNP Leadership

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: October 5th 2019

Hello PVH Nurses.  We want to start by thanking you all for your continued hard work and commitment to patient safety during what now appears to be the normal high census in PVH.  We know it has been difficult and tensions can run high with all the constant stress, but you all are doing a great job of working together. Keep doing your best to support and listen to each others needs and the needs of our support staff.

The Recent Change to our Patient Population Dynamic:

There are some serious issues that have arisen with the increased census and in case you haven’t noticed, our patient population.  We are seeing a large increase in homeless/detox/mentally unstable/long-term wound care type of patients and that is all by design.  There is a new step ER Docs are taking in the admission process where they are asked, “Is this patient appropriate for PVH?” If yes, then most likely, that patient will come our direction.  With the increase in this type of patient, our need for extra staff (staffing based on acuity) and for extra sitters and security (both on hand and for belongings screening) have become even more critical than ever before.  SNP is asking for a meeting with the Hospital to address these issues, but in the meantime there are a couple of very important things that you can do every day that can help keep us all safe:

1. Fill out an ADO any time you do not have the staffing you need to keep yourselves and your patients safe.  The State has been here recently and will be back again in response to the Hospital’s inability or unwillingness to adjust staffing needs to reflect acuities.  ADOs are tracked in all units and are filed to highlight why they were filed and this information will be given to the State.  So include as much information and detail as you can when filling them out.

2.  Advocate for yourselves and your patients.  If it is unsafe to take another patient, if doing so would put you out of ratios, if your are being asked to take your break, but taking that break would put your unit out of ratios, speak up, say that it is unsafe and file an ADO based on that.

Fact Findings and Disciplines: 

Most of you know this, but we have a lot of new hires and new grads working at PVH who might not.  If you are asked to meet with your manager or Administration for any reason, your first question should be, “Could the outcome of this meeting lead to a discipline?” If the answer is “Yes” or “Maybe”, SNP highly recommends that you ask to have a Union Representative present.  You do that by contacting one of the Nurse Reps on your Unit and they will get things going in the right direction.

The Hospital will work with you and the Union to find a time and day that works for all parties to attend. A Rep acts as a witness to make sure you are treated fairly or are not lead into answering questions whose answers could be used against you.  We deal with many fact finding and disciplines so we want to make sure that everyone is being treated not only fairly, but that everyone is being held to the same standards and that any discipline that might be issued has a corrective action plan that is realistic.

Negotiations:

There continues to be two things happening in Negotiations.

One, more Nurses are showing up to listen in.  Thanks to all of you who are making this possible.  Keep it up because, two, the last 5 sessions have been pretty productive. 

Some of the important outstanding issues that are still holding up the process are the scheduling of Per Diem must take priority over the scheduling of travelers, how easily you can get a day off, how easy it would be for the Hospital to lay you off, how easy it would be for the Hospital to take away Bargaining Unit hours and how easy it is for you to have access to Nurse Representation to name a few. Watch for individual survey questions coming your way pertaining to these topics.  We will use your combined responses to directly tell the Hospital what you as a group will or will not accept in your contract.

October dates for negotiations are the 9th, 18th and the 24th,

November dates are the 7th, 13th and the 19th

The next session on the 9th will be in the Foundation Office with a start time of 10am.

Til then,

SNP Leadership

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: September 13th 2019

Insight and Outstanding Issues

The last couple of sessions prior to Tuesday’s session were fairly productive with some notable forward movement in a few articles. If the Hospital could maintain that level of acquiescence, we could get through this process much faster.  Those past two sessions were a bit of fresh air. 

This past Tuesday’s session although not as productive, was very interesting to say the least. There was a lot going on at and away from the table.  Due to the ever-expanding mold problem, many rooms that would or could be used to negotiate are occupied or being used for another purpose.  This has led to the Hospital having a harder than usual time finding a room for negotiations.  Couple that with NUHW’s negotiations falling on this past Tuesday as well and some chaos was almost meant to ensue.  Both Unions and two admin teams needed spots to work.  On Tuesday, we had been told we were in the Foundation Office.  We spoke with NUHW in the morning and they said they were also scheduled to be in that room.  We knew we had a lot of Nurses planning to attend and asked NUHW that if the room had been indeed double booked, would they mind taking the other room, so we didn’t need to re-message all the Nurses.  They said it was no problem.

Later, the Hospital team who is negotiating with NUHW, came in and said we needed to move.  We informed them that we had already spoke with NUHW and Wendi and that we had worked it out.  We would stay where we were and NUHW Negotiations would take place over in Burns.  They said they expected us to move because they ‘had the room first’.  That was the only reason they gave for wanting it. We said we didn’t want to move now because one, our session with the Hospital was to start in 15 minutes and two, we had Nurses showing up any minute.  They gave the ‘but we had it first’ reason again and continued to say they expected us to move.  We said that we planned on staying put, but if they insisted on us moving we would move but only in masse once all of our Nurses had shown up.  In the end, they let it go, we stayed put and we got on with negotiations.

During that first session, we sent proposals on Partnership Rights, Staffing and what we expect to be a Tentative Agreement on Advocacy.  They sent across counters on Nurse Reps and Change in Status and then, later in the day, they countered on Staffing and Partnership Rights.

Of note, Ellen, the Hospital lawyer who is their team leader, was calling in for the session for whatever reason.  We mention this because this is the second session of late where she has needed to call in.  There are many positives to this from our perspective, but one of the nicest for us, is that we are only sitting across the table from our Local Hospital Administration. When negotiations are over and Ellen moves on, we will be communicating or meeting with Wendi, Jaime and Leslie almost daily. Both parties will be expected to honor the contract, so it’s contents and limitations contained therein, are important to both sides. Those provisions and limitations will shape how the Hospital can carry out its functions in relation to us Nurses. 

One main topic that surfaced the other day was in Staffing and it involves Lead Nurses.  In past contracts, we had a Lead Nurse Role Description.  It outlined what a Nurse who was interested in taking on the role, was expected to be responsible for and what type of tasks they were expected to perform.  The Hospital doesn’t want that language in the contract going forward because it says there are now Lead Nurse Competencies in all units where Leads are used, and those competencies will spell out what is expected of a Lead.  We said that in theory, we were not opposed to that idea, but our hesitation is that as the Hospital is proposing, the competencies could be written without Nurse input.  If the Hospital’s expectations of the Nurse in the competencies became too cumbersome or time intensive for a Lead and/or patient care suffered because of those burdens, Lead Nurse Role being voluntary, Nurses would opt to just not take on the Lead Role.

Having Ellen call in regularly has provided some insight as to why negotiations might be taking so long. We have noticed that when Ellen is not at the table, the other members of her team are allowed to speak more freely.  When allowed to do this, there is a lot more talk by them about how they want to work with their Nurses, to ‘collaborate’ and get ‘feedback from them’ when it comes to competencies or staffing issues, but from the phone end, we get, “The competencies are in total control of the Hospital.  The Hospital has the power to create its own competencies as it sees fit.”

No input from Nurses talk.  No collaboration on these things that directly and could negatively affect our workplace and our ability to provide patient care.  No team effort. 

This is not the first time this type of dynamic has presented itself during negotiations, but it has taken the separation of the two facets of the Hospital Team to make it more recognizable. We’re getting stuck in Coverage, Management Rights, PWR, PTO, Change of Status and Staffing because of the overdrive need for power and control over your practice and workplace that seems to be stemming from the corporate side of the table… 

If left to their own devices, our local Hospital Team might actually be helpful in creating a contract that we all could live with.  One built on creating a functional and supportive work environment.  But it appears that the biggest divider in the room is either the Lawyer herself or whoever it is that she is answering to from corporate (the Hospital has still refused to say who we are actually negotiating with).

Our questions for you are this:

What kind of place do you want to work in?  One where your professional input is encouraged and valued or one where you are cut out of the process altogether and you are expected to do what you are told when you are told to do it? 

This is the crux in all the Articles that are still outstanding, and we must continue to fight for our right to be involved, active participants, advocating for ourselves and our patients.  Every outstanding article can be brought back to the corporate demand for control over your life.

Back to the first session on Tuesday.  We had over 20 Nurses in the Foundation Office! It felt so good to have so much support and energy in the room.  Sitting at the Negotiation table is not easy as you can imagine and we know you all have our backs, but it is SO much better to see and feel your presence behind us! So, THANK YOU from the whole Team. 

At the close of that session, the other side mentioned that we had ticked off NUHW by staying in the Foundation Office while they went to Burns Hall and that we should try to “make it right” with them.

So we checked in with them during the break and that could not be further from the truth.  While we had gone to visit with some of them in Burns, some of them came to visit with us in the office.  Smiles all around and they reassured us that it was no problem and that this appeared to be an attempt to cause a riff between the two Unions.  Of note, NUHW is running into some really poor behavior and getting really below community standard proposals from the Hospital and we need to support our coworkers in the months ahead any way we can.

Sorry for the length of this update, but as we get closer and closer to the end game in these Negotiations, it is necessary to paint a picture of what we are dealing with from time to time.  Going forward, when you see we are at odds over language in a certain article, ask yourself, how is corporate trying to minimize or remove my involvement, my rights and/or my voice from the process.

Next Negotiations are this coming Monday, the 16th with a 10 o’clock start time in the Foundation Office.  Please come out and support.

With Gratitude,

Your SNP Negotiating Team

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: August 7th 2019

PVH Nurses,

While your team will continue to try and make headway at the negotiating table, the hospital has stopped making any significant movement on any of our outstanding non-economic articles. 

It is in large part up to us all, as a group, to move into the public arena more regularly in order to help the hospital come to its senses and see that agreeing to what we need is a far better option then trying to impose their will upon us. They are essentially forcing us into the streets.

One example of this ‘imposing of will’ came the other day as a comment from nursing administration.  When discussing the steps by which the hospital must follow BEFORE a change can be made to a nurse’s dependable schedule, administration said, “Dependable schedules are a ‘courtesy’ to nurses.”

Really? A courtesy? How many of you will work at a facility where you don’t have a dependable schedule? How many of you actually could still balance taking care of your families, arrange child care, coordinate schedules with your significant other, make appointments, etc. Nice huh?

This is exactly the type of behavior and control over our lives and livelihoods that we cannot allow to take place at PVH. And this is the exact type of language that the hospital keeps sending across the negotiating table which could never be accepted.

That said, negotiations will pick up again on the 21st, 23rd and 29th of August. Come down and sit in.  Listen to what kind of workplace your employer is trying to create and fight back. 

On that thread, NUHW is running into the exact same type of heavy handed, callous proposals and both our unions have decided to fight this employer together going forward. Watch for upcoming opportunities to help in that effort. First and foremost is a combined Informational Picket planned for August 22nd. We need everyone helping to organize and everyone participating! Let’s show St Joe what it looks like when an ENTIRE hospital is united!

United for All of Us,

SNP Leadership

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: July 26th 2019

Hello Everyone,

Quite a disappointing day the other day. The reason is this. You all know how unhappy we have been with the lack of dates that the hospital has been willing to meet for bargaining since negotiations have begun, but this has been especially true over the last 5 or 6 weeks. They offered no concrete dates between June 14th and July 30th.  Toward the end of the week prior, the hospital lawyer contacted us to see if we could hold negotiations on the 23rd. Wendi asked us directly if we would be able to meet because she said their team really wanted to keep going. We keep hearing from Wendi how hard it is to recruit and retain nurses without our contract being agreed upon. They keep saying they want to get through negotiations, but then fail to back those statements up with anything of substance.

We went hopefully into negotiations the other day, looking for some forward movement and more of an effort on the hospitals part to come to agreement on the outstanding non-economic pieces of our contrac. The sooner we can come to an agreement, the easier it will be to staff and grow the hospital. We won’t keep losing nurses due to the wage disparity with other local hospitals. Increased wages, coupled with good working conditions, will make recruitment SO much easier.

Nothing, however, in the way of positive movement was offered by the hospital, and their position did not change in any areas of concern. They still want to make it easier to lay-off nurses, limit your access to proper representation, financially impact you negatively in the short-term without any retribution, refuse to accept language that would guarantee you your overtime pay when you work beyond your shift, gut our management rights language that protects us all, and they STILL insist that travelers should receive staffing preference over our own per-diems!

Of the things on their Anti-Employee Wish-List that came across the table on Tuesday were:

1. They want to make it harder for you to get your vacations!

2. They want to able to eliminate weekend-call in surgical units and have the ability to regularly staff you all on the weekends!

3. They are attempting to keep the Union from appointing nurse representatives to the annual group that oversees how and if the patient acuity system is accurate and being used appropriately. This annual group has the ability make changes to that process if it is found necessary!

If you all don’t want these and all the other negatives the hospital is proposing, you must continue to say so by coming to negotiations, joining in on SNP community actions, supporting NUHW in their efforts to fight off the corporate model of the workplace, filling out our online surveys, etc.  Keep the pressure up and give the Hospital a big collective, “NO WAY WILL THESE TYPES OF TAKEAWAYS EVER BE ACCEPTABLE! THEY ARE NOT GOOD FOR ANYONE! NOT FOR THE NURSES, NOT FOR OUR PATIENTS AND NOT FOR THE GROWTH OF OUR HOSPITAL!”

Next Negotiations are JULY 30th, Groverman Hall, 10 am start time.

Thanks, SNP Leadership

 

Posts go back in time chronologically. Scroll to the bottom of the page to start at the beginning.

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: June 10th 2019

PVH Nurses,

Oh my… For those of you that have been unable to make it to negotiations, you are missing some very interesting studies in the origins of human nature!

What you need to know after today’s session:

PTO requests and approvals: First, there is a difference between PTO (Paid Time Off) and a vacation. The Hospital is proposing to only allow one nurse to be off on “vacation” at a time. Currently, as is past practice, our contract language allows one nurse to be off on PTO at a time. If you receive PTO pay for the days you work in a week and someone else wants to be off on the days you are not scheduled for, another nurse can be off and receive PTO for those days. This allows nurses to get their vacations more often than not. The Hospital wants to change this practice which will make it especially hard in the bigger units for nurses to get their vacations. If a nurse is planning a two week vacation, the hospital would like to be able to deny PTO to any other nurse who asks for PTO during that same time.  Also, for those of you who work with nurses who need or want take longer vacations, if a nurse was gone for a month, no one else on that unit and shift could get any time off for that month if the hospital has its way!

PTO Caps: The hospital proposed on Friday to eliminate your option to cash out some of your PTO in the future. Nice huh? They want to make it harder for you to get your vacation and then if you can’t use your PTO and get maxed out, your accrual will be lost.

Vacation Requests: For vacation requests submitted after the Feb 1st and August 1st deadlines, the hospital has proposed to let you know whether or not you are approved or denied for a vacation just TWO WEEKS before posting! How does that sound when trying to book flights and hotels or even just plan your life? Is there no end to how low they will go?

Our next session is this upcoming Friday at 0930 in Burns Hall

Come out, show up and support!

Thanks, and see you Friday,

SNP Leadership

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: May 24th 2019

PVH RNs,

Update on today’s negotiations: Our continued struggle to get to a solid contract has drawn the attention of our fellow nurses as well as from the membership of many other local unions. This is especially true for anyone who shares St. Joseph Health as an employer. A few sessions back we had a couple nurses attend from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for the opening minutes of the day, and the hospital tried to impose their will by saying that they could not sit in on negotiations because they were not part of this bargaining unit. We said they absolutely could. They work for the same employer and will have to work under the same conditions we all do if they pick up a shift in PVH so they have every right to find out what the work conditions might look like. BTW, there is language that is TA’d already around SRMH nurses working at PVH.

(Our Team that was here all day until past 5!!)

Today we were joined by a gallery of our own nurses (the hospital actually wanted to stop you all from coming once upon a time too), as well as Larry Ligouri, one of the NUHW Reps who has had an open invitation from SNP to attend since these negotiations began. Of note, there were four of our own nurses who recently sat at the table for the opening statements of NUHW’s first negotiating session this past Tuesday without St Joe saying a word. In fact, we felt welcomed to participate.

This was not the case today, and the hospital refused to negotiate if NUHW was present. We said as coworkers who also work for St Joe, NUHW workers will have to deal with whatever provisions we secure in our contract and thus they fully support our efforts to get a safe contract. We said these negotiations are not confidential and they should be able to be present as silent witnesses just as we are allowed to do so in their negotiations. The hospital was in the room for less than 5 minutes today. They left and didn’t come back even though we let them know we had proposals ready and we were available and willing to meet all day.

In fact, we were here until past 5pm and they never came back to the table. This is on the heels of them only offering one day to negotiate in June, no dates offered in July, and at the last two negotiating sessions they showed up with NO proposals!

(The Hospital Negotiating Team on May 24th for all but 5 minutes of the day)

What exactly is the hospital afraid of? Why are they so reluctant for workers to know what they are trying to do to our contract and workplace environment? Why are they slow going the process, coming to negotiations unprepared or unwilling to give dates? We think you know the answers to these questions. They want to keep you in the dark. They want to keep your coworkers and fellow nurses in the dark. They want to weaken your support for each other and for your fellow PVH coworkers to increase their control over your livelihood.

Regarding the hospital’s continued requests for a mediator: Mediators are brought in to get the job done quickly without preference to either side. We are unwilling to compromise on important language that has kept patients and staff safe for many decades at PVH.  At this point a mediator would not help this process.

Regarding the hospital’s insistence that there were ground rules: This is untrue. There was never any agreement around who could or couldn’t be present in sessions, nor would SNP have ever agreed to limiting observers in any way, much less in the way the hospital is trying to do now. The only thing we ever agreed to was letting the other side know if there would be a change in the negotiating team (which is contractual), and in later sessions we set some expectations around the formatting of proposals. In short, don’t believe the corporate line.

Our next negotiating session is scheduled for June 14th. Place TBD.

Sorry we don’t have better news to report, but being able to support each other in our struggle is an important right that you should not take lightly. Big picture: things are moving in the right direction. We will pick up where we left off on the 14th and keep moving forward.

Best Everyone,

SNP Leadership                                                        ​

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: May 19th 2019

Hey PVH Nurses,

Anyone else upset and really tired of being short staffed and overworked more often than not? Tired of admin saying that it is just too hard to hire new nurses? Angry because we continue to lose nurses that we trained or oriented to other hospitals because our work environment and wages are so far behind the community standard? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone in your response and my next question to you is “What are you going to do about it??”  Hang with me and I will offer some suggestions on how you can continue to help turn this dynamic around.

There has been and is a lot happening at and away from the negotiating table.  First, at the table, things continue to move in the right direction, they are just moving much slower than they should. If you can believe it, the hospital has shown up to the last two sessions with NOTHING. No proposals. We have made some significant progress in protecting the heart of the staffing and advocacy articles and those two articles are getting close to an agreement. There is still some outstanding issues around the Lead Nurse role and how leads are used in the different units that needs to be hammered out and in Advocacy, the PPC needs to retain what oversight it has in keeping the acuity system valid and being used properly by the hospital when they are determining safe staffing levels.

Some meaningful conversations have been had around Grievance and Binding Mediation. Our lawyer, Jane, has been in communications with almost all of the arbitrators the hospital supplied on a list of possible arbitrators to use during grievance proceedings and all but one of those listed not only do binding mediations, but really like doing them. So, it seems that although the process of Binding Mediation is a relatively new process in the hospital sector, it is not unheard of, has many upsides for both the employer and the employee and most importantly it can be done! The hospital is supposedly mulling it over.

Overall, we only have around 6 or 8 Articles that have some outstanding issues that need to be resolved prior to economics being put on the table, so we could be getting very close to that point… your participation can really help speed this up.

Big picture stuff... NUHW and our Local 39 (engineers) are now in or entering into negotiations with St. Joe.  The engineers are having a rough go and have asked for your support with their effort. NUHW (who represents all the ancillary departments) begins negotiations this coming Tuesday May 21, at 10 am in Groverman Hall.  They are asking for nurses to come out and support by sitting in for some of their session. Please do your best to do this.  Ratios for our CNAs is a big topic this go around and something we absolutely must help make happen. They cannot give proper care to the number of patients the hospital has been trying to assign them. Going forward, we have never in the history of PVH, had an opportunity like this one. Every single employee, save the doctors, are in negotiations with St. Joe! We all work under the same roof. We all take care of the same patients. We all live in the same area. Let’s all help each other get where we need to go. Safe, non-punitive work environment, competitive wages and a thriving, viable hospital. Those things are needed by everyone.

One thing that needs to be made very clear is this. The current state of affairs we are all dealing with in PVH (short staffing, low wages, trouble hiring and retaining) are a creation of our employer. There is a willful intent bringing about these conditions. Please let that sink in.  These are choices St Joe has been making to bring us to this point. Through the course of negotiations, they have made continued attempts to undermine much of our contract and for YEARS now, have refused to offer any type of wage increase although they absolutely could at any time. They have been trying to break your will and weaken your resolve. This has led to staffing the units from an ever diminishing and exhausted pool of nurses. So many of you have worked many extra hours to help fill the gaps and holes in order to provide our patients with the care they need. How have all your sacrifices been rewarded? How has the hospital changed its approach in order to fix these issues over the last few years? Are you sick of it yet? Yes? Great! Here is how you can help right now…

1. Come out to negotiations. Even if only for a short time. Look your employer in the eye. Your silent presence lets them know you are here for your patients and each other and when your negotiating team speaks, they are speaking for you. We have sessions on May 24 (Burns Hall) and June 14 (TBD).

2. Fill out your ADOs. You know what safe is. If things are not safe, get that ADO in. The state has been in a lot lately and it looks very likely that they will need to be called back soon. The ADOs have been piling up like we have never seen before. Keep up the good work.

3. Come out and support your own Union’s efforts for community outreach, but also for activities put on by the other Unions that represent your coworkers. We are only as strong as our weakest link.

4. Leave comments, likes and posts on our website, forum, Instagram, and Facebook pages. Speak up. Keep the conversation going. Keep it fresh and keep shedding light on what we are dealing with every day in PVH. Be relentless.

5. Join, participate, or show up and listen in on the Acuity Committee, Professional Performance Committee, monthly PSNP and PHCD board meetings. There are so many opportunities to put your frustration into action. All these committees and meetings could use more involvement and participation. If you are not involved with any of them, why not?

Lastly, we will be hosting and joining forces with our coworkers around many upcoming events and community forums in the months ahead in order to shed further light on our situation and put further pressure on St Joe to get off their heels and get our contract done and done right! Watch for these events and do all you can to have them be as successful as possible.

Remember, we have to be prepared to be Water Over Stone in order to get what we need from this corporation, but that doesn’t mean we need to be a trickle. We can come in the form of a waterfall or even a tsunami.

 

In this together and for each other,

Jim Goerlich and all of SNP Leadership

 

SNP Rally April 13th 2019

Hey PVH Nurses!

For those few who were unable to make it out for the rally on April 13, we hope you can forgive us for the delay in getting this report to you. There was so much help by so many people in order to pull it off, and everyone was pooped afterwards and wanting some downtime.

It was such a great day! We had wonderful turnout. In all the years of doing these events we are getting pretty good at pulling them together and planning for the numbers of attendees expected. That said, we ran out of stuff for the grill! I was so happy to hear that because we had planned on feeding at least 100 people lunch! I am happy to report that I didn’t get lunch.

Nurses and their families came and went throughout the day and all units were well represented. We had many community members, families, dogs, representatives and members from NUHW, SNA and the PHCD. I especially loved seeing all the kids that came. My kids have been coming since they were born, and it is so awesome to see the next generation of activist families! These events are always so much fun and so uniting. Kids running around playing with each other, people making signs that represent their concerns, everyone is happy to be together and working toward a common goal.

The music from the Bitter Blues Band was solid (their harmonica player was particularly good), and the band really appreciated participating in our effort.  After the BBQ, music, and all the signs had been made, we all walked over to picket in front of the hospital. We were met by so many well-wishers with horns!  Community members driving by showed their support by producing everything from the quick honk or the double beep, to the loud pulls from truck drivers. All of them could see our banner that read…

 

‘OUR CONTRACT KEEPS THIS COMMUNITY SAFE’

 

We had an area set up next to the street for our plays. Props included a hospital bed, a walker, and a bedside commode. The plays focused on showing the contrast between how certain situations are dealt with or de-escalated based on whether or not we have enough staff on the floor. Since staffing and patient advocacy language is under attack at the negotiating table, these subjects seemed very appropriate. The plays went great and there are plans to edit and put them on the web and other social media outlets as well as continue on with the theme and write/perform more short plays; they really highlight the importance of having proper staffing 24 hours a day.

Somewhere in the middle of this, the hospital had three security officers come out and ask people to stay off the lawn, and then proceeded to have a security presence on hand until late that night! Nurses and community members were a little put off by this to say the least. One because, well, security? Really? What are we going to do out there that requires security, much less three security guards? And second, how many times have we needed extra help or security on the floor due to safety concerns and have been told “there is no help to be found or available”. But they can find three guards to keep an eye on the nurses? Things that make you say “hmmm”.

After the plays we went back to picketing with a break in there to have some Happy Birthday cake for Jessica Valdez. We had some impromptu free-styling on the mic from Molly and some guitar playing/union songs lead by her as well. Another nice bonus of these days are the hidden talents we find out about one another!

As evening came around, we ordered a couple pizzas and had dinner picnic style.  We broke out the guitars again while the sun set. The horns honked, and we played until our fingers were too cold to cooperate. We had a small but soothing and focused candlelight vigil to wrap up the day. If you can understand where I am coming from, even though it was exhausting, the day was very energizing. So many nurses commented on how good they felt to be out and actively working together, hanging out with their coworkers. They felt enlivened by seeing such a good turnout. Many plans were made for future get-togethers and activities so watch for those. Another bonus... these days are great for think tanks!

Thanks to all of you who attended and/or helped pull this day off by taking on different tasks. It would not have been possible without you. Everything from phone trees to flyer making, booking spaces, Costco runs, sign making, banner ordering, props and play practice, etc. etc. etc… This took a lot of cooperation, selflessness, and passion to be successful… and that it was! Again, thank you.    

Talk with you soon,

Jim

 

Bargaining Unit Update: April 9th 2019

PVH Nurses,


It is important to say that the hospital has made it very clear to us that they do not want the rally to take place. They have also made it very clear during negotiations that they do not want PVH nurses to have much control over their practice or have much say in what constitutes safe staffing. We have said across the table that we also do not want to hold a rally. We would in fact prefer to do other things with our free time, but if the hospital will not agree behind closed doors to the safety provisions we have had in PVH for many, many years, we are left with no other choice. It is our duty as patient advocates to alert the public to what kind of staffing scenarios could become the norm within PVH if the Hospital was to have its way with our contract.

Saturday is an important day and we absolutely need everyone present.  Please bring friends and family. Invite your neighbors. Being able to be cared for safely if you or a loved one is a patient of PVH should be of importance to everyone who lives in and around Sonoma county.  It will be a fun day.  These kinds of things always are.  Let’s spend the day in each other’s company.  Knowing that we are out there for not only ourselves and each other, but for all of our community and patients, is such a privilege.

Quick note on negotiations.  Very little progress was made at the last two sessions, but it was progress none the less.  We spoke with the President of SNA the other day (SRMH Nurses Union) and she said, "Tell the nurses of PVH that in order to win a good contract, they must be prepared to be water on stone."  She went on to say that if the hospital is unwilling to do the right thing quickly, then you have to be prepared to take deep breaths, be steady and persistent in fighting for what you know to be right and for what is important to you. Never forget, the hospital can settle this contract at ANY time by agreeing to the safety language that we know we MUST have. We on the other hand do not have that option.  Settling for unsafe language or for language that does not grow this hospital, in order to "get through negotiations", is not something we could ever do.  So until the hospital sees the logic in agreeing to language that not only protects us and our patients, as well as does no harm to the hospital and in fact "helps" them too, we must be "WATER ON STONE".

Looking forward to seeing you all Saturday and having some fun in the streets!

 

SNP Leadership

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: March 27th 2019

Hello PVH Nurses,

There is a lot going on! Whew!... long story short, there are a lot of people coming together and working hard to get us a safe contrac,t and a safe, growing, and stable hospital to work in and offer the community of Petaluma going forward.  Everyone from PVH Nurses, Doctors, NUHW represented ancillary staff, to PHCD members, community leaders, and community members: eyes and efforts are focused on us. We hope that brings as much confidence and comfort to you as it does to us.  We will get where we need to go... together.

Negotiations have been good and bad for those of you who have been unable to make it to any of the last two sessions. The good was that we have TA'd on important TWR language and Successorship! Both critical in their own ways, and both absolutely necessary in providing stability in the workplace. That was during the first session on the 20th. The bad is that the hospital, in yesterday's session, doubled down and went back to their insulting and condescending manner, declaring impasse on four major components of the contract, and refusing to move on other needed provisions. One example is around what is considered a workday.  Many of you will remember when the hospital changed the 'workday clocks', assigning everyone to a workday that doesn't mirror your actual clocking in time. That move has negatively impacted many nurses and other staff members by creating a loophole that allows the hospital to avoid paying 
overtime in an array of ways. We have introduced language to fix what is essentially your money owed being taken from you. The hospital thus far is refusing to allow that language. When asked point blank, "Do you agree that a Nurse who works 8-hour shifts is entitled to overtime for hours worked past 8 and double time for hours worked past 12 for a nurse working a 12 hour shift?", the hospital lawyer replied, "Not necessarily". Nice huh? This is your POTENTIAL future operator/employer!

We have got to keep hammering home what is needed to keep you and your patients safe. Period.  Our next session is on the 4th of April, in Burns Hall. Start time 10am. Please come down and support.

Lastly, RALLY, RALLY, RALLY APRIL 13TH! The community is watching. St Joe is watching. A huge turnout can help turn the tide and get this logjam moving. You want better wages any time soon? We are at least 15% behind everyone in the area! Do think the hospital is just going to hand that over? How about retro for the YEARS without a wage increase?  Want better staffing? Less punitive work environment? Not such a rundown, un-invested in Hospital? The outcome of all these and other needed things for PVH are tied to this rally being successful. THEY ALL WANT TO SEE JUST HOW COMMITTED PVH NURSES ARE TO PROTECTING AND SPEAKING UP FOR THIS COMMUNITY.

Thanks for your continued support, efforts, and passion.

SNP Leadership

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: March 17th 2019

PVH Nurses,

This last month, bargaining continued with its forward momentum.  Slow, but steady.  Our Nurses continue to provide this Negotiating Team feedback and opinions on the proposals sent across the table by the Hospital and we will continue fighting for what you say is important to you and your workplace.  The Hospital continues to refuse to commit to many of the longtime key patient and workplace protections in our contract, which continues to draw out this process. You all have made what you expect in a contract clear to us and at the table, we continue to back up what you are saying. Because of the continued resistance by the Hospital to commit to needed protections, much of the Bargaining Units efforts are now focused on community outreach and involvement, with the ultimate focus being on the rally scheduled for the 13th of April.

One of the things (some would say one of the main things) a union does is make sure that a contract is being honored, in our case, that the agreed upon provisions in the contract are being followed by the Hospital.  There have been a few instances lately of this not happening that everyone needs to be aware of.

1. Paid Time Off: Per contract, you can only be denied time-off for a day if another RN has already been granted that day off and will be on PTO.  You are only on PTO for the days you collect PTO. We recently learned that the Hospital had begun denying Nurses their vacations incorrectly.  What they have been saying lately is that if a Nurse is off for a two-week vacation, no one else on that unit can be off during that time either.  This is not true.  Again, you can only be denied any of your scheduled day(s) off if a Nurse was scheduled for the same day(s) and was already granted those days off. If you run into problems getting your vacation approved, do not hesitate to contact your Rep.

2. PPC Reimbursement: For anyone wondering if the current contract you are working under is enforceable, here is your answer.  The Hospital recently sent word to the Union that until a contract was ratified, they would not be reimbursing PPC (Professional Performance Committee) members for their time in the meetings.  Under contract, the Hospital is required to pay 8 members up to 3 hours each month to attend.  SNP 
responded that the Hospital absolutely had to follow the contract in regards to this and failure to do so would trigger another Unfair Labor Practice charge to be filed.  Long story short...the Hospital is reimbursing.

3. Mandatory TWR if a traveler is scheduled: As mentioned in previous emails, Nurses have been getting Mandatory TWRs incorrectly and with some regularity. Usually it is when a traveler is also scheduled but not always. There has also been some confusion on management's part over what is classified as an "extra shift". Basically, if there is a traveler on, you cannot be mandatorily cancelled unless you are receiving premium pay AND (the 'and' is important) the traveler has been cancelled to their maximum allowance for cancellations. This and a few of the other examples of contract violations are being investigated by the NLRB currently.  If their findings are in agreement with our filings, these Nurses will be made whole monetarily.

Congratulations to Molly Luvender! When you see her, thank her as well as congratulate her. She is now a hired employee of PSNP.  Molly has been logging some serious hours by heading up the communications department for over a year now, and we couldn't do it without her. We wanted to make it official! She and many of your coworkers are doing a lot behind the scenes to make sure that you all know what's 
happening with contract negotiations, community outreach, and advertising. It is a big job and Molly will tell you it is often a labor of love.

Lastly, the all-day meetings on the 23rd and the 30th.  We’re going to set these up a little like a skills lab, except that you only need to visit the stations where you might be lacking information.  On tap for the days will be informational stations on the rally scheduled for April 13th, negotiations, ADOs/PPC, dues donation process, petition and letters of support signing, and merch.  The main thing is understanding the need for the rally, what to expect there, and why we need everyone participating.  Please get back in touch with your loop leader stat and let them know which day you can attend if you haven't already. Also, we need people to help with set up for those days. If you can be available to help for any part of the day, please reach out again to your loop leader.

P.s. The next negotiation session has been moved to THIS Wednesday, the 20th, at 
10am in Groverman Hall. As always, please come.

Thanks,

 

SNP Leadership

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: March 10th 2019

Hello PVH Nurses,

The last two bargaining sessions continued to be productive.  Nothing TA’d (tentatively agreed to), but quite a few more articles have become very close. There are still plenty of big-ticket items on the table that are of key importance to our workplace where a path forward looks challenging, but we will keep plugging away at them.  A few of those include Temporary Work Reduction limits, Safe Staffing language, Patient Advocacy, Positions and Postings, Partnership Rights and Leaves of Absence.

We want more of you to come and sit in on sessions.  If you have not made it in, why not?  This is your contract we are trying to protect and regularly we have listed the many ways that having you come in to observe not only helps your team tremendously, but it also directly supports your coworkers efforts who are working so hard outside of negotiations to get us all a good contract.

Are you all aware of how many of your colleagues are working on everyone’s behalf in this effort to secure a quality contract?  They are the backbone of your union.  Without all their activity, efforts and energy, we would all be sunk.  It would just not be possible to do all we are doing with just a few people.  Getting to negotiations is a very easy way to thank those efforts. Please honor their work by coming down and observing.

Key dates for the near future and ALL ARE VERY IMPORTANT: 

1. Tuesday, March 19th: Two things this day. One is Negotiations and two is the Petaluma Healthcare District Board meeting.  Negotiations, as mentioned before are always important to attend and maybe the session on the 19th will be easier for some of you to make if you can commit to being in the area for the Health Care District’s meeting.  This is a meeting that you do not want to miss.  PVH Nurses have been encouraged by the Board to attend.  St Joe is planning to deliver their plan for operating PVH in the future if they are allowed to continue as the operator. There are many groups within the Petaluma Community who have been waiting to hear what St Joe has to offer and as patient advocates, PVH Nurses should make a strong presence. Meeting starts at noon. St Joe will deliver their plan for about an hour and a half. Address is 1425 N McDowell Blvd #103, Petaluma.

2.  Saturdays, March 23rd and 30th:  BU Update/Rally Planning Meeting days.  You will be contacted soon if you haven’t already, about which of these days we can count on you to be present. We need every one of you to show up for any length of time on one of these two Saturdays.  We will be in Groverman Hall at the hospital both days from 0730 until 1700.  These are drop in sessions, so come when it fits your schedule. Get updated on issues, ask any questions and most importantly, find out all about the planned rally/informational picket planned for April 13th!

3.  Saturday, April 13th:  Rally/Informational Picket. More details to come but this will be a fun day full of activities.  We need as many Nurses, friends and families, to show up in support. At this juncture in Negotiations, a large community action is CRITICAL.  Again, more details to come, but put it on your calendars.

That’s it in a nutshell folks. Get to these meetings please and everything will be much clearer.

SNP Leadership

 

State of the Union Address: February 26th, 2019

To All PVH Nurses,                                                                       

 

I was out on a walk a while back and thinking about many things, and one of them was the skirmish over whether or not the President of the United States would be allowed to deliver the State of the Union Address.  It got me thinking about the state of our own union and I thought “Why shouldn’t we deliver a SOTU Address?”  Kind of a... where are we and how are things going?

 

Disclaimer... Claiming the title of ‘President’ has always been a hard one for me to swallow. When we voted to start our own Union a little over a year ago, all but four Nurses voted in favor of the cause.  We had sent out a message prior to the vote that basically said, “Only vote ‘Yes’ for SNP if you can commit to doing your part to fight for a strong contract and also can commit to doing your part to uphold that contract once it is in place.”  With the vote successful, Union start ups being what they are, someone had to put their name in the slot for President, VP, etc.  So, I reluctantly agreed to put my name in there.  I say “reluctantly” because SNP was born out of and will continue to be a group effort and has many, many leaders within it. Maybe it is my own misconception, but it seems that in many parts of the world, the term ‘President’ is associated with power or prestige and I personally abhor the concept of both when designated to one person. The power of SNP, if SNP is to be a strong advocate for patients, must lie with all PVH Nurses working together and speaking as one. That said, I will take the ‘Power invested in me’ (my tongue is in my cheek) to write this, more or less, opinion piece on where I see things. Just like with our own Presidents’ SOTU Address, you may choose to pay attention or not (smile).  I of course hope you take what I say to heart... Let the rambling begin.

 

I have a very close friend who is an environmental scientist and works for California State Parks. His job is more or less to protect natural resources, native species, and the habitat for the animals that live there. He is responsible for all the coastal State Parks from Sonoma County up to the Oregon Border. It is a huge job. His love for the natural world and his desire to leave this world better than he found it is inspirational. It is a balancing act.  As you might imagine (as with any resource) there are many groups interested in how to ‘use’ that resource and how to achieve that balance while adhering to the primary goal of ‘protecting the resource.’ A difficult task to say the least.

 

On our way to go surfing not too long ago, my friend and I were discussing what we were dealing with at work and he said, “This is what I do. I do it for everyone. I can’t expect everyone to have a degree in environmental science and everyone has their part to play in making the world a better place. Just like you are placing your trust in me to protect our Natural Resources, I trust you and other Nurses to protect the Hospital environment. If you don’t do it, who will? I have to fight outside interests who quite often are at odds with my goals and so do you, but what other choice is there if the outside interest isn’t acting on behalf of what is good for everyone?”

 

From my perspective, what I have witnessed is a body of Nurses who by starting their own Union, now have a growing awareness of the power, tools, and responsibilities that have been laid at their feet that can be used to protect the patients that we serve. Some days, that awareness seems to crawl at a snails pace and other days, it blazes a path, but the trend has been steady.  More and more Nurses are seeing how it equates to safety in our workplace to have each others back and what an honor it is to defend the protection of our patients.

 

We are ALL leaders in this union.

 

As leaders, I believe we need to and do encompass at least these five traits.

 

Strong Communication: Whether giving report, alerting Reps to contract violations, bringing safety concerns to SNP meetings or reading/responding to emails and calls to action, etc, Strong Communication is essential and benefits everyone.

 

Passion and Commitment: Bringing your best. Doing as much as you can do to set up the next shift or lighten the load for the next Nurse, whether that be inside or outside the Hospital, your commitment and passion to providing safe patient care is priority number one.

 

Positivity: Nurses have been handed the gift of high moral ground! Stick to your guns. We know what we need in our contract. Safe patient care can not be compromised. I am positive we will get where we need to go and get what we need in our contract.

 

Innovation and Creativity: Keeping it fresh! Always a good thing. People with energy. Brainstorming sessions with new ears in the room. Who knows where it will go? We have a serious job and some serious needs that have to be dealt with in the times ahead, but the ability to be creative can lead to that one idea that breaks up a log jam or finds the solution to the problem. Not to mention innovative and creative people are often quite fun.

 

Collaboration: No one can do what needs to be done in PVH alone. Not even a group of 20 or 40 Nurses could do it. It will take all of us doing what we can for PVH to be the best Hospital it can be. So much of our job is working together for the common goal.

 

 

 

Negotiations:

 

Overall, things are going as they should and in the right direction. Would we like them to go quicker? Absolutely. But we are not compromising on needed contract language and the protections for ourselves and our patients that comes with that needed language. I believe The Hospital is hoping to wear us down and you as well; to make you tired of the process and get you to concede to unsafe, below area standard language. St Joseph could have accepted our past contract as was for the most part, fixed wages and benefits and moved on. They chose to go after our entire contract, requiring us to open every Article and we have spent 9 months Negotiating only to agree basically on what we already had in our previous contract in about twenty articles. No major changes. We will soon have an updated list for you all on what has been agreed to, what is still on the table (including what St Joe is proposing to take away) and what Articles are still to be discussed.

 

St Joseph has had lots of options on how to govern itself during the course of negotiations and could have chosen and could still choose paths that are more in line with their stated values, shorten this process and agree to a contract that benefits everyone including themselves, but so far they are not doing so. On one hand they talk about how valued and appreciated we all are and how they support a safe work environment, want us to be competitive, even outstanding in our field, and on the other hand they keep proposing things during negotiations that foster resentment for our employer, would undermine stability, run off staff and we are treated by some at the table with anything but Dignity.

 

It is so crazy! For any of you who have sat in on negotiations and who have attended the recent “Cultural Compass” seminars, you will understand what I am saying. The contrast in behaviors by St Joe in these two settings is stark. In the seminars, St Joe talks about wanting to create a workplace where we (administration included) support, honor and work together.  Honor, Integrity, Reduction of Stress in the workplace, Continuity in and a Commitment to Quality Patient care... All good things, but across the Negotiating table, the Hospital continues to try and undermine Staffing Levels, Dependable Schedules and Scheduled Hours, Lead Nurse and Break Nurse Roles and attempt to weaken/cloud language in Leaves of Absence, Management Rights, Successorship, Posting of Positions and Permanent Work Reductions just to name a few. One of the quotes used by St Joe in the seminar was by George Washington, “We are all Ladies and Gentlemen, serving Ladies and Gentleman.” St Joe went on to say that we should all respect each other, treating each other with dignity, and yet so many of you who come to negotiations can not believe how we as negotiators are treated in that setting. “Belittling, looked down upon, rude, condescending, shameful, disgusting,” and “I hate working for an employer who would hire someone like this to negotiate in their name” are all comments our Nurses have shared with this team.

     

That said, we have also received some of the nicest comments of support and thank you’s from our Nurses.  After seeing what we do in Negotiations and what we have been dealing with, so many of you have stepped up your commitment and engagement in the process and have been instrumental in growing the public resistance needed to fight these takeaways if the Hospital doesn’t change course.

 

Many Negotiations can take a year to a year and a half to complete. Some take longer depending on how willing or unwilling either side is to agree to the conditions laid out by the other party. Also, it can depend largely (and historically always has at PVH) on how active the Bargaining Unit is inside and OUTSIDE the walls of the Hospital. St Joe does a lot of good things in this community and has a lot of potential when it comes to being an employer we can all be proud to say we work for. I personally would like nothing more than to have the ability to honestly say, when out in public, that I love working for St Joseph Health System. They absolutely have the ability to make that a reality.

 

Negotiations basically come down to this: we do our best as your Negotiating Team to relay across the table what you all say is important to have in your contract and what you tell us is unacceptable language sent by the Hospital. If the Hospital doesn’t change its position on any certain subject, we as the team relay that to you and we can make suggestions on how we fight that language as a group and you all have to decide again, individually and as a group, if you choose to fight for what you want and need. There is no magic pill. If you as the bargaining Unit are not happy with what St Joseph would like to do with your workplace, you/we as a group, need to speak up loudly and collectively in as many ways possible and say “NO!” to the things we all know will harm patients, and detract from OUR work environment and our safety. No one can make you do this and no one can do this for you. You have to decide that this fight is your fight and that you will fight along side your coworkers to get what you deserve.  And I say this emphatically and from the bottom of my heart... YOU DESERVE A GOOD CONTRACT.

 

Final Thoughts...

 

Overall, we have had a monumental and productive year. Exhausting at times, but inspiring and rewarding the rest of the time. We have all learned so much and have remained a very cohesive group. Your support for and commitment to each other and your determination in getting a quality contract for your patients is something I am very proud to be a part of.

 

Our current contract and its superior language and its protections have been kept safe for the duration of Negotiations and the Hospital is bound by law to follow the provisions contained therein throughout this process. As mentioned in the recent email to everyone, the Hospital appears to be deviating from their obligation to follow the contract lately and a ULP (Unfair Labor Practice) has been filed with the National Labor Relations Board.

 

PPC (Professional Performance Committee) is up and running again. Many of our newer Nurses have stepped up and are engaged in running this committee which deals with all sorts of safety issues. Your ADOs end up here to be used in a variety of ways. Keep them coming when they are warranted.

 

Going forward, your Negotiating Team and the core group of activists do need more help from you.  Try and find some time to donate to the cause and see where you can help.

 

Creative writing skills or even some of you willing to share your perspectives and put them in writing would be great. We have heard that Nurses would like more updates and we could definitely use help meeting that request.

        

Helping reach out to your coworkers, helping to keep them informed and participating in actions is also needed. We would like to see more of you in the SNP Monthly Board Meetings which are the 2nd Monday of EVERY month.

 

Are any of you computer savvy and willing to assist with web design, surveys, and social media outlets to be used for community outreach?

        

Do we have any Thespians and Musicians in the BU?  That would be nice to know too.

 

SNP doesn’t have staff. We are ALL the Union. Everyone plays a part. If you would like to see something more from your Union, you may reach out to one of your reps or email snp@snponline.net, but I would also ask that we all start by looking in the mirror and asking, “What can I do to help?”.

 

Committed to each other and determined to get our patients what they need… that is SNP.

 

Ok, that’s it. Thanks for allowing me the platform.

 

Take care,

 

Jim Goerlich

SNP President

 

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: February 11th 2019

Hi PVH Nurses,

 

Details from this last session are as follows....

 

The next Negotiating Day is tentatively set for February 27th.  The Hospital lawyer has a case that depending on how it settles, will either open or close that day off to meeting with us.  We have asked and are awaiting a response to a request for their side to have someone be present to negotiate on their behalf when The Hospital lawyer can’t be present.  Her schedule is very full and we are regularly not the priority, leaving us with too few dates to Negotiate.

 

We sent counters on Staffing, PWR, Hours of Work, Management Rights and Probational Employees.

 

Staffing is gonna be a real sticking point if the Hospital maintains it's position. Staffing is absolutely central to all we do.  Dumbing this language down is not an option.  We need the language that spells out what is expected by the Hospital when it comes to staffing properly to an acuity system and what roles and functions and rights a Floor, Lead and Break Nurse have.

 

Another sticking point is going to be Partnership Rights.  In short, The Hospital is really trying to limit your access to representation and the Unions access and ability to communicate and represent you. We await their counter, but so far they don't want to allow language that would allow Nurses off shift for Negotiations and want language that would give them control of the bulletin boards and severely limit a Union Representative's ability to enter the Hospital when needed.

 

The Hospital sent counters on AWS and Just Cause/Due Process. Alternative Work Schedules was not acceptable. There have been some serious issues with how 12 hour shifts have been brought into PVH. AWS is a piece of that process and needs to have protections written into it that protect current and future 8 hour and 12 hour Nurses. The Hospital's proposal does not do that. Just Cause and Due Process are important protections that need defining in our contract. Should you ever find yourself looking at a potential discipline, especially if it is a high level discipline, you will be glad these Articles are in your contract. The Hospital continues to try and dumb these down and actually continues to want to delete Due Process altogether.

 

Lastly and MOST IMPORTANT....Negotiations got a little heated around billboards and their use.  This lead to the DON pulling out a copy of the Flyer we ran in the Argus Courier.  She held it up and said "What language are we proposing that is DANGEROUS"  We said that much of their language would be dangerous if it was allowed to be part of our contract, but since we had sent Staffing across already, we used that as an example.  We said that Staffing correctly is SO important and that poor staffing was already leading to some dangerous situations.

 

So what we need is this... We need YOU to email SNP Leadership with any instances where insufficient staffing was dangerous.  Either for staff, patients, or both. Include what it is like to work with too few staff.  How does it effect your assessments, level of care, and response time to your patients ADLs? Do this right now please.  Don't wait. We can use these examples in Negotiations and when addressing the PHCD Board. Leave your names off and remember HIPPA.  No names or too many specifics.

 

Lots of things happening right now. Watch for further updates and opportunities to help.  We're getting closer and closer to a contract we can be proud of, but it's gonna take everyone doing their part.

 

Talk with you soon,

SNP Leadership

 

 

 

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: January 27th 2018

Hello PVH Nurses,

 

We hope this first update of 2019 finds you well.  Let’s continue working towards all things good in the New Year.

 

The January SNP board meeting included a vote by SNP Board Members on PSNP Officers. After nominees agreed to assume the responsibilities of their role if they were indeed voted into office, the vote was held and the results are as follows (this probably won’t be a surprise to you). For the coming year, these Bargaining Unit Nurses are your SNP officers.

 

President: Jim Goerlich

Vice-President: Lucinda Lofftus

Secretary: Taryn Treu

Treasurer: Catherine Armstrong

 

Work Place Environment:

 

Pay attention to this.  You are all adults.  You know your job, your responsibilities, and you are directly involved in creating an atmosphere that you and others like to work in.  Lets keep it that way.  Reports are coming in about Management becoming more authoritarian during unit meetings and in how they address performance issues or concerns. Nurses report feeling belittled, intimidated, and pressured to perform in ways that don’t benefit the patients we serve. There is a mounting resistance to working in a punitive work environment. Watch for ways you can support this effort. We are accountable for our actions to be sure, but we are all (management included) supposed to be working towards the ultimate goal of providing quality, safe patient care.  The path to achieving this goal is through collaboration, feedback, and disclosure. Punitive work environments do not aid this effort, in fact lead to the opposite and should not be tolerated.  Bullying and intimidating behavior by an employer (or anyone else for that matter) is against the law.  Report any concerns or examples of this type of behavior to your union reps immediately.   

 

Schedules, Pay Stubs and TWRs:

 

Pay close attention to these as well.  Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs) are currently being filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) related to the Hospital not following our current contract.

 

To be clear:

 

    •   No change may be made to your schedule for any reason, after posting, without your consent. (If this happens, you are entitled to your lost wages)

 

    •   No Nurse shall receive a Mandatory TWR if there is a traveler on the unit. (If you are receiving a Mandatory TWR, ask the AC if there is a traveler on.  If this happens          to you, you are entitled to your lost wages as well)

 

    •   Doctoring of a Nurses time sheet by Administration is against the law.  (Make sure you are getting paid correctly for the hours you work and reimbursed correctly for            the hours you submit.)

 

Negotiations:

 

We continue to make progress at the table and a complete tally of where things sit will be out soon. Nurses have been reporting that in meetings and in their postings, management has been laying the slow pace of Negotiations at the feet of the Union.  So, they are blaming you.  If only you would accept a dumbed down contract, with its provisions based on Hospital policies which the Hospital can change as they see fit, multiple TWRs in a month, Lead Nurse roles with no job description, No Break Nurse relief language, unlimited management rights, weak staffing language, etc, we could get this thing done!  What’s the matter with you?  Doesn’t all that sound good?  One thing to remember is that unless you have an employer who really wants to negotiate a fair contract and to do that quickly, negotiations do take a while and right now the time frame we are on is about average.

 

As usual, the Hospital says one thing while doing another.  The stalling is squarely with them. They have made it perfectly clear across the table that they are unwilling to have negotiations without their lawyer present.  They have been unable to give more dates for negotiations in the past because of her busy schedule, cancel negotiations when she has something come up and can’t attend, and are only offering one set day to meet in February due to conflicts with her schedule.  Stalling is a strategy and is frowned upon by the Labor Board.  Stalling wears out the other side, makes the Bargaining Unit grow tired of the process and therefore, if a party is proven to be deliberately stalling the process, they can be compelled legally by the NLRB to come to the table more regularly and Negotiate in good faith. More to come on this, but we will leave you with this…. SNP will fight for what is needed in this contract for as long as it takes and as long as you continue to back the effort.  If you want to speed this up, internal and external resistance, public pressure, and your continued feedback are critical. How long this takes in large part will depend on these things.

 

Negotiation Days coming up are January 30th, as well as February 11th.

 

Keep your eye out for the SNP ‘State of the Union Address’ coming soon.

 

Thanks and Blessings on the New Year,

SNP Leadership

 

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: End of December 2018

A Response:

 

Recently, there was an update on Negotiations put forth by the Hospital and there were many things on it that we could debate whether or not they were legitimate statements, but we’re not going to get into that. We, as your Nurse negotiators and coworkers, will let you all decide who you choose to believe when it comes to updates on how negotiations are going and why.

 

What we want to comment on is about the Hospital’s updates in general.  When you read them, it is puzzling because they are written as if “the Union” is some outside entity that is controlling your Negotiations.  ‘We’, ‘You’, are SNP.  You ARE the Union.  It must be a concept change that takes some getting used to for them.  When we, as the Negotiators, speak at the table, we are your voice in that setting and we are relaying your expressed needs and expectations for your workplace. When PVH Nurses are in the community as SNP members, we have our own voice, but we are also the voice of our coworkers who can’t join in on that days action.

 

When you read those Hospital updates in the future, try inserting “you”, ‘your’, or whatever else fits along that line of thought, anytime you see the Hospital use the word “Union”.

 

We doubt you will see an update from the Hospital saying the “Union” isn’t moving towards economics because they are more concerned with worker and patient safety issues.  We don’t think you will see, “The Union continues to hold on to Articles that are important to retaining and attracting Nurses and aid in providing a good work environment”, but again, insert ‘you’ in those areas and you will better understand why Negotiations have slowed down recently.  You have repeatedly told us that compromising patient safety is not an option.

 

The last negotiating session was cancelled by the Hospital because the Hospital Lawyer had a medical issue and their team won’t negotiate without her present.  As we move into January, we have three dates for Negotiations on the calendar.  January 16, 23 and the 30.  Times and rooms TBA. We will continue to focus on everything related to protecting and improving your work environment, knowing that those same protections extend to your patient’s safety and well-being.

 

ADOs:

 

Just a reminder to fill those ADOs out anytime your assignment is unsafe or the floor in general is understaffed or unsafe. With the census being so high on Medsurg lately, there have been a lot of shifts where ADOs have been filed.  ED as well.  If you or your coworkers need more help to deliver proper care and that help is not provided or available, notify the AC that you and/or your unit is on an ADO.  It is the responsibility of the Hospital to staff according to Acuities (ie: patient needs).  Notifying them of an ADO puts the legal responsibility of any negative outcomes related to short staffing back with the Hospital and protects your license. It also protects your patients because quite often, an ADO being filed triggers the AC to renew the effort to find the needed help.  Once an ADO is filed, it is tracked by the PPC (Professional Performance Committee) and any trends or regular, intentional short staffing would also be tracked and if warranted, a notification of that short staffing would be sent to the Department of Health.  So, fill those ADOs out when you need them. They are one of your best tools for keeping you and your patients safe.

 

Community Actions:

 

Community actions continue to be fruitful in unexpected ways.  First, it is more fun than many Nurses thought it would be. The community for the most part is very engaged and are in most cases eager to sign a petition in support of safe staffing.  Most of us can relate to that uncomfortable feeling you get when you see that person standing outside the grocery store with their clipboard in hand.  You might think, “Oh no, what does this person want?”, afraid you might get wrapped into a ten minute spiel on a topic you aren’t interested in or being asked to donate money to yet another cause.  We have received a few funny introductory comments (usually from the older gentleman in the crowd), like, “What are you trying to sell me?”  Many people, when you approach them, are guarded at first, but as soon as you mention you are a Nurse, the change in their facial expressions and demeanor is priceless. Apprehension is replaced by trust and relaxation. That said, community support and interest in our cause is there folks, and in a lot of cases, the public is eager to help.  Helping us helps them or their loved ones. They get it.  As we continue community outreach, do your best in the weeks ahead to assist those Nurses who have been taking up the call to lead groups into the public.  Help out as much as you can.

 

Bumper sticker seen in the Petaluma area recently:

 

Choose the Path of Most Persistence

 

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Enjoy your time with friends and Family.  Keep up the strong Advocacy.  Stick together.  Speak your Truth.  Protect your patients.

 

It’s what we do.

 

SNP Leadership

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: December 12th 2018

PVH Nurses,

 

Negotiations can be a slow or a quick process depending on how motivated one or both parties are in coming to an agreement.  The Hospital (both at the table and in their updates to you) keep repeating that they want to speed the process up.  They keep saying they want to get to economics.  We also would like that, but not at the expense of our work environment.  The Hospital continues to provide politician style answers when asked why they either want certain language or why they continue to try and eliminate longstanding safety provisions from the contract.  They answer with things like, “We don’t believe that belongs in a contract” or  “That is not needed in a contract”.  They provide no real answer because the real answer would tip their hat and expose the dangers imminent in their short sighted proposals.

 

What can speed this process up, and get the protections we need and the wages you deserve, is your continued support and presence on Negotiation days and your continued presence in the community.  The lawyer for the Hospital said during our last session that raising awareness in the community around the unsafe language they are proposing “will have NO effect on negotiations”.  Basically, she is saying the Hospital will not listen to you and that you going out and informing the community about the inherent dangers proposed by the Hospital is a waste of time!  How do you like that?  Informing the public of a safety issue is a waste of time? Are you gonna take that?  If they aren’t listening, you’re not speaking loud enough!

 

The only thing that can speed this process up is if the Hospital starts taking you seriously and agrees to the longtime, tried and tested safety provisions and needed language that protects our work environment.  Without a safe and supportive working atmosphere for yourself and your patients, it doesn’t matter how much you get paid, Nurses will leave.

 

SNP Board Member/Rep Elections:

 

Start thinking about someone you might want to nominate (maybe yourself?) for a seat on the SNP Board or as a Unit Representative.  Nominations will be taken over the coming months and elections will be held electronically through this website in the new year.  If you aren’t signed into the website and have your own password, don’t wait.

 

That’s it for now and take care,

 

SNP Leadership

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: November 7th 2018

PVH Nurses,

 

It is a hard thing to sit here and figure how to relay clearly and concisely, what all is going on right now around Negotiations. Without writing a short chapter, it would be impossible. First, a big thank you to our consultant Bill Urman for joining us at the table. We continue to have a solid group of Nurses showing up to every negotiating day.  Most of them have been able to adjust their schedules, have found child care, have given up sleep, etc. to attend.  It is a sacrifice that this team greatly appreciates, and we have said this before, it is needed. In our opinion, your presence continues to make a huge difference in the attitudes and responses, both in writing and verbally, of the Hospital Team. We had a good ten Nurses who made it to the last session, who for various reasons couldn’t stay all day but had they been able to, would have witnessed a couple of key things. One good and one… odd... telling... a hint as to why we are, in part, running up against the same roadblocks when it comes to reaching an agreement on some of these most basic but key parts of the contract...?

 

First, the good... had everyone been able to stay, they would have witnessed a few more tentative agreements (TAs) reached. All we need is for both parties to exchange signatures on clean copies of the agreed to language and we can put those articles to bed. These articles, including Seniority, Clinical Ladder, ADO’s, PPC and Technology, brings the total number of TAs reached well into the double digits.

 

Next, the... whatever it is… upon returning to Burns Hall after a break, the Hospital lawyer made another comment about there being so many less Nurses present for the afternoon session. She has commented on this before, and again, for those of you who have come... it is not always easy or convenient for you to be here right?  The Negotiation teams get paid to be there. You all come because it is important to you. Nurses coming down, even for just the morning session, get an ear and eyeful of the process. Talking with each other and making plans for how to fight these takeaways, privately and publicly, says a lot about your ongoing commitment to each other and your patients. What the Hospital lawyer said was that she didn’t know what we all were trying to pull, putting on this “show”, every time we negotiate, by you all being present!

 

Unreal! We have been fighting for our own stability and safety in PVH for years, only to be sitting across the table from a team who can’t seem to grasp the concept of a person or persons fighting for something bigger than themselves. She can’t understand why a group of nurses would stand up for their patients, their colleagues, and their community in this way, and refuses to believe that our trust and commitment to this effort and in each other could ever defeat them with all their money, resources, and perceived power.

 

Another interesting perspective: the lawyer shared with us all that the Hospital really wants to get to all things related to compensation.  They really want to get us a wage increase and that we, the Nurses, were holding up the works! How do you like that? All this time we thought it was the totally unacceptable language they keep sending across the table that was doing that!  Guess we’re just supposed to accept it and move on. We told them that if they want to move this process along, they need to stop sending this type of language back across the table, or stop holding on to their previous proposals that we have made clear we could never accept. It is really quite an easy fix.  At no point have we been asking for anything more in the way of protections and rights than what we have had at PVH for many, many, years.  The problem here is that the Hospital continues to try and erode those protections and we are not having it. This team could never in good conscience ask you to sign off language like that. It is not safe for anyone... not even St. Joe.

 

To be clear, there is absolutely nothing prohibiting the Hospital from sending anything across the table related to compensation, or anything else for that matter. They are free to do that anytime they wish. Typically, both parties try to get most or all of the non-economics taken care of before they get into economics, but that is not always the case. Again, if they really want to speed this process up, they have the ability to do so.

 

In other news, we have a billboard! Check it out, heading South along 101, just south of Corona Road. It is beautiful and well done. The newspapers now know of its existence and the community is now getting the message. If St Joseph Health wants the staff at PVH to give them a “thumbs up” in the community when it comes time to vote for who will operate PVH into the future, they better start showing us why we would want to continue to have them as an employer. They have a great opportunity to make their case with Negotiations.

 

It is all about community outreach right now. This coming Monday, the 12th, is our monthly SNP board meeting in Groverman Hall 4-6pm.  We’re going to try a potluck this month, so bring something to share. Drinks will be provided.  The main agenda item is community actions! For the next couple of months, we are going to be asking everyone to help with a few actions, one of which is to gather as many signatures of support from the community as we can. We have our fellow Unions agreeing to help in the effort. St Joseph needs to understand that the Petaluma and Sonoma County community members look to their bedside caregivers to keep them safe. It is our duty to do so, and if the employer is attempting to do something that in any way threatens that safety, we are obligated to let the community know. We are asking for and know we can expect their support.

 

With Christmas around the corner, we’re thinking to make this a little more fun by offering a gift package to the Nurse who gathers the most signatures.  If anyone has anything they would like to donate, please say so. Jim is offering a half gallon bottle of home brewed ale, a dozen home raised eggs, and a jar of homemade blackberry jam... how’s that for starters?!

 

Ok, that’s it for now... that isn’t everything, but the main points were hit. Keep up the good work everyone,

 

SNP Leadership

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: End of October 2018

Hello PVH Nurses,

 

We will keep this short and sweet.  We continue to make some progress at the table, getting over a dozen articles tentatively agreed to. This is in large part due to the continued presence of Nurses in the room during negotiating sessions and the feedback they provide during caucuses.  Also, the Hospital knows we are all out in the community now and that we as a whole are upset at how this process is being handled, with the Hospital insisting on Negotiating over the smallest of things and also continuing to send language across the table that we could  NEVER accept for our workplace.  Nurses are very upset with the Hospital for the slow pace of negotiations after witnessing it first hand in Negotiations. If anyone ever deserved to have this process streamlined, providing some workplace stability, it is the Nurses and patients of PVH!  We have been in this fight without a wage increase for three years!  We will not back down and accept language that would hurt our workplace and our ability to provide good patient care. Period.

 

So, we have no choice but to continue shedding more light on our situation publicly.  We keep trying to give St Joe the opportunity to do the right thing and do it quickly, but they can’t or won’t.  

 

Flyers/Public Support Sheets are making their way into the community.  We need everyone gathering as many signatures as you possibly can.  If every Nurse only gathered at least a 100 signatures, that would be 15,000 signature! We could do that with friends and family alone! Let’s do way better than that.  Also, watch for our billboard, starting November 5th, along 101, just south of Corona road, heading south bound, right hand side.  

 

In collecting signatures, running ads and in articles in the paper, going forward we are asking the community to look towards PVH Nurses to find out if St Joe is right for our community hospital.

Negotiations is where the employer gets to show what kind of relationship and work environment they intend to foster with their employees.  

 

Let’s help St. Joe see that it is better to lift their employees up, support and appreciate them, rather than treat them like disposable, at-will employees.  If they can do this, we can go to the community and give them our full support.

 

 

More to come. Next Negotiating day is Wednesday, November 7th, Burns Hall.  We will be meeting with the Hospital at 10am.

 

Thanks everyone,

SNP Leadership

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: October 12th 2018

Hello Everyone,

Two areas of concern were brought up during our monthly SNP meeting. (Great showing by BTW, most Nurses we have ever had at an on campus Board meeting!)

 

1.Working Off the Clock: Make sure you are on the clock for any charting and... patient care comes before charting. If you are unable to finish your charting before the “end of your shift”, do not clock out in order to finish it. The Hospital would agree with this statement. Working off the clock is against the law and can lead to termination. It is easily traceable. Do not feel pressured by any Hospital statements wanting to curtail overtime. Do your best to complete your work on time, using available resources to do so and stay in communication with your Lead Nurse and the AC if you are getting behind, but under no circumstance should you be working off the clock. Again, you know what you need to do in order to care for and keep your patients safe, that is priority one.

 

2. ADO/Staffing/Acuities: In the Units where staffing relies on Acuities, make sure you are making and taking the time to get acuities completed and done accurately in the early part of your shift. Safe and accurate staffing for the next shift relies heavily on this. The AC’s are expected to have a conversation with Lead Nurses about what staffing needs are present for the next shift and running the acuity numbers in a timely fashion is an important part of that conversation.

 

Negotiations: (Favorite comment by one of our Nurses who attended was, “That hospital lawyer makes me want to go back to school to become a lawyer who advocates for Nurses”) If you are a Per Diem, know and/or care about your Per Diem coworkers, or just care whether or not your unit is staffed with a lot of travelers instead of our core staff, you need to be paying close attention to the talk at the table currently. The Hospital would like to change our language in the Scheduling Preferences(Article 7) so that Travelers would get their schedules ahead of Per Diems working beyond their commitment. Every month, the Hospital schedules the Per Diems based on their availability, but quite often doesn’t give them enough hours. Once the schedule is completed, the Hospital then sends out requests asking for anyone interested in filling in the holes and this is the time when core staff can pick up more hours if they weren’t originally scheduled for enough shifts. We have already lost good Per Diems in the past because they didn’t get enough hours and the language the Hospital is proposing would accentuate the problem. If the Hospital could just hire more travelers to fill the holes, why wouldn’t they just plan on giving our Per Diems the bare minimum and fill the rest in with Travelers? We will lose more core staff and you will will work with a Team that is always changing, not familiar with our procedures and protocols and is not vested in our community hospital. Is that what you want?

 

Also, our Per Diems have the ability to adjust their schedules in accordance with what is standard in the area, working an average of a shift per week. The Hospital is proposing to change the language mandating that Per Diems would work one shift per pay period, no average. Again, we will lose Nurses. Per Diems are crucial to our operations. They are flexible and need to be allowed to stay that way. Without that flexibility, they will simply go work for other local Hospitals who do appreciate, recognize and reciprocate that flexibility. Principle of Technology: The Hospital verbally agrees that Technology should not replace Nursing judgment, but refuses to put that commitment in writing. They would like to have the ability to implement whatever technology they see fit, in any way they see fit, refusing to include sending any new technologies through the Professional Performance Committee (PPC) as a part of the planning and implementation of bringing any new technology to the bedside. Does anyone doubt that there might be new technologies coming down the line that could have significant impact on how you care for your patients? As Nurses who will have to work with new technologies in the future and continue to provide safe care, is it important for you to have a say in if and how it should be implemented and carried out? If it is, be ready to

fight for it.

 

That’s it for now. There is more, but those are the current highlights. Next Negotiating Day is on Friday, the 19 th in Burns Hall. Plan is to meet with the Hospital at 10 am. Please come if you at all can, it is making a difference! After that, Friday, the 26 th of October, in Groverman Hall is the next session. Details will follow.

 

Thanks,

SNP Leadership

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: October 5th 2018

The Hospital is still pushing for a mediator. The only reason we can figure is that the Hospital hopes a Negotiator would help convince us (and you) to accept more in the way of takeaways. That is not what they would say of course. They continue to say they want the Mediator brought in to help move this process along, getting a contract in place quicker. We have made it very clear that this team does not feel we are in a place where introducing a third party into the process would be helpful and that until we see an honest effort made by the Hospital to actually Negotiate this contract, we will not entertain the idea. Before we can take that step, we believe there is MUCH that can be done on both sides in an effort to get us closer to a quality contract. As we mentioned in previous updates, how things go from here on out is going to depend on your collective will and participation in fighting for the contract you deserve.

 

Your continued presence at Negotiations and palpable interest and enthusiasm is sending a message to Administration. We are seeing movement on some Articles.  The worst of the worst takeaways the Hospital has proposed are still out there, but there has been agreement reached on a few of the lesser Articles. So keep up the good work! We will get what we need if we are willing to fight for it. Our next Negotiating day is Oct 12th, with a start time of 10am, in Groverman Hall. We will be reaching out to you in hopes you can make it.

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: September 20th 2018

Hi Everyone,

 

As mentioned with the last update, this one, which encompasses our last SNP Board meeting, a Petaluma Healthcare District Board meeting, and two days of Negotiating, is gonna be a little longer than some.  Our apologies for the length, but you need the information, it’s important and there is no other way for you to get all this info unless you can come to every single meeting and negotiating session (that of course would be awesome... open invite).

 

Negotiations - We’re gonna say it here and towards the end of the update as well... This is where we are with Negotiations... COMMUNITY ACTION, COMMUNITY ACTION, COMMUNITY ACTION!

 

We met with the Hospital Tuesday and Wednesday of this past week. Things are about as pathetic as they come.  The Hospital lawyer (Ellen) continues to run the show for the other side of the table, even putting her hand in front of their Team’s newest member, Jamie Welsh, St Joseph’s local HR director, refusing to let him speak! So much for that. It was sad to observe. A couple of the latest of the worst takeaways... the Hospital wants to be able to TWR core staff before travelers and they woudl like the ability to TWR you at the BEGINNING of your shift, essentially putting you on-call for free!

 

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! There is no reasoning with the Hospital Team. They want what they want, everyone else be damned. It has become very clear to this team that no matter how much we insist and explain why we need the provisions and protections we need in the contract, the Hospital will not budge from their positions without some serious prompting on your part as a whole.  It is stupid, but true. You cannot appeal to their higher selves.  They will not concede anything of substance without first seeing if you are willing to fight for it.

 

You all have made it very clear to this Team, through surveys and comments, that the proposals the Hospital has been sending across the table would never be acceptable by you. We will continue to do what we can at the table, holding on the language we know will keep us and our patients safe, but we cannot do much more without you all doing everything you can, inside and outside the Hospital’s walls, to back us up.

 

So now it is your time to act. The next steps we must all do together en-masse. St Joseph Health System needs to be scared into changing their stance. Bad PR is what they are scared of. It is time for you to channel your anger, frustration and disappointment with this employer and go get your patients and your coworkers the protections and rights they deserve. Let’s get out there and remind the Petaluma community who speaks for their safety in PVH.  Lot’s of actions are happening and in the works.  More to come...

 

 

Thank you again to those Nurses who are taking the time to sit in on Negotiations and witness the process.  Please keep it up. We need as many of you as we can get to sit in, even for just a bit.  It makes a difference.  You showing the Hospital that you are watching Negotiations closely gives them pause. Come and see for yourselves what we are dealing with.

 

Here is a quote from one of our Nurses who attended...”Hey, sitting in on Negotiations was eye opening to say the least. I can’t believe the lawyer’s attitude towards you all.  She doesn’t seem to care too much about the Nurses working at PVH. Her attitude says that from the start... You have my support completely. I’m going to try and make Negotiations going forward. I wish I could have stayed longer, but I was going on 26 hours of being awake. Thank you to everyone on SNP board for all your hard work and dedication to all of us.”

 

Petaluma Healthcare District Board Meeting - Negotiations Updates will be a regular Agenda item for the PHCD meetings for the foreseeable future. We took our lunch break during Negotiations the other day to stop in and let the PHCD Board and the community (these are public meetings) know how Negotiations are going. We let them know that the Hospital continues to send across language that would be detrimental to patient and worker safety and that we were taking our displeasure with this employer into the streets.  When it comes time for the community of Petaluma to vote on whether or not to keep St Joe as the future operator, we want them to ask PVH Nurses how they should vote. IS ST JOE THE RIGHT FIT, THE SAFE FIT, FOR THE FUTURE OF PVH? ASK IT’S NURSES. That was all BEFORE we had received the new round of terrible language from the Hospital in these last few sessions! We will let you all know the time and place of the next PHCD meeting in hopes you can attend. We will have an earful for them no doubt.

 

SNP Board Meeting - It was another successful meeting with a mix of new and old faces.  The food was amazing as always. Thank you Sara! We discussed the Hospitals recent attempt to schedule nurses for four hour shifts (don’t let them unless you are volunteering) and their attempts to TWR nurses for the first four hours of their shift (again, only if you volunteer).     We are looking for people to help with the PPC (Professional Performance Committee).  This is a paid committee that meets once a month for 3 hours max. It is where some of the low level problem solving of issues within the Hospital takes place. No prior experience is needed, just a willingness to learn and desire to help.

 

We also discussed community actions, what they would look like, what the message would be and how/when best to implement them all. Main thing here... be ready. Stay informed. Get on the website and sign up in the forums if you haven’t yet. Plan on coming to the next SNP Board meeting on Oct 8th (details to follow at a later date) to find out more on how to help and give input. We are gonna call on you all in the weeks ahead to show up and deliver that message. There needs to be constant pressure by us all on the St Joe System from here on out until we get what we need in the contract for our patients and ourselves!

 

Thanks everyone, we will talk with you soon,

SNP Leadership

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: September 7th 2018

Hello PVH Nurses,

 

This will be a quick update for sure.  Our last update was fairly long, plus we will be negotiating again on the 18th and 19th, so we plan on relaying a more detailed account of what transpires over these three days combined on the backside of them.

 

Just as with our last update, I want to thank the Nurses who came out today to attend part of or in the case of one RN, the whole session .  We had a dozen or so Nurses in total who sat in and listened for a bit and it is great for Admin to see so many of you interested in what happens at the table. Please keep up the good work.  Engaged Nurses, staying informed and able to be present for all or part of any Negotiation Day is a BIG help to your Negotiating Team right now.

 

It was a shorter day than normal because the Hospital team had some scheduling conflicts that necessitated us meeting from only 8am til 12pm. However, it was a fairly productive session.  There was some movement by the Hospital on a few smaller, yet important key points in a few Articles.  The Hospital also made a suggestion that they feel it is time to bring a Federal Mediator to attend Negotiations, but our Team, after a caucus, believes this to be premature.  We are not opposed to a Mediator(third party) intervening if and when that step should become necessary, but again, we're not there yet. 

 

Lastly, it is very important for you to do your best to make to this next SNP Board Meeting/Bargaining Unit Meeting this Monday at 101N.  There are a lot of community actions and activities in the works that your Union and your colleagues need help with the planning of, as well as, with the implementing of in the weeks and months ahead.  Please don't wait to get involved. Now is the time.  We are in the thick of Negotiations and we need everyone of you engaged and lending a helping hand where you can.

 

Also, please fill out the new (and the old-if you haven't already) survey number 3.  This new one is just three questions long.  Your feedback is needed in guiding your Negotiating Team at the table.

 

OK. That's it for now. More details next time. Hope to see you all Monday (Please RSVP so we know how much food to make).

 

Yours,

 

Jim Goerlich

SNP President

 

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: August 20th 2018

PVH Nurses,   

 

The last Negotiating session was very interesting and insightful to say the least. First, thank you to the Bargaining Unit Nurses who sat in as silent observers for most of the morning. It was a pleasure to have you present for many reasons, but we were especially thankful for your feedback on the topics that were discussed at the table during breaks, as well as for the ability you now possess to relay what you witnessed that day as far as behavior and demeanor portrayed by both parties.

 

We did make further progress for our part. We presented another handful of proposals and a couple counter proposals in our abbreviated session on the 20th. Many of you have taken the opportunity to look through the Hospital’s “Packet” of proposals recently, so you understand how confusing and inconsistently formatted they have been, so we started out the day with some housekeeping pieces, one of the main ones being that we needed to come to some sort of agreement on how proposals should be written and countered. In the end, the Hospital agreed to present one Article/Proposal at a time (not a conglomerated packet), with new language underlined, old language crossed out and everything printed on one side of a sheet of paper (so hopefully nothing gets overlooked).

 

We also wanted to know who their team bounced ideas or concerns off of. We were told, “No one.” We had to clarify that, so we asked again if we had heard that right. We said, “If you have a concern over a proposal we send across the table or are unsure of how to proceed on an Article, if you are wondering what the employer’s wants are on a given topic, who do you contact?” According to them, they don’t need to run anything by anyone else! This is alarming in some ways, upsetting and disingenuous in other ways, but could explain the poor way Negotiations have been handled thus far and further explain why the proposals we have seen come across the table from the Hospital have been so draconian.

 

If their statement is indeed true, it is not evidence of good faith bargaining. The Hospital Team consists of the Hospital lawyer (who with 16 years experience in her field is still considered relatively new to the profession by long time lawyers), our DON and an HR Representative (neither of the latter have ever negotiated a contract before). No oversight? No guidance? Really? We Nurses at PVH have been fighting to get to the table and represent ourselves and our patients for over 3 years now. We deserve better.  More to come on that topic below…

 

Also, we wanted to know who the Hospital team works for? Ellen, the lawyer, said she worked for her law firm. We said, “No, who is the party you are representing at the table? In essence, who pays the bills or pulls the strings? Are you employed by PVH, St Joseph, Providence? Who?” We got three separate answers. First, Ellen said, “I don’t know”. Then she said, “You don’t need to know”, asking us, “Why do you need to know?”. We said we needed to know who to address our concerns to, publicly and privately, on how Negotiations were going. When pressed again later in the day about who they were representing, Ellen said she would have to get back to us after checking to see what her “client” was comfortable with her saying. Unbelievable! We have every right to know WHO we are really negotiating with!

 

The next day we relayed what transpired during Negotiations at the Petaluma Health Care District’s Board meeting and they were taken aback at the news. They really couldn’t believe what they were hearing. One upshot is we will now have a regular agenda spot in those meetings and can publicly discuss details of what is transpiring during Negotiations. Our position is very clear…. Negotiations is where we as the Nurses get to see what the intent and spirit is behind this employer and we will make that intent and spirit also very clear to the community of Petaluma. When it comes time for the community to vote on whether or not St Joseph is fit to operate our Hospital, we hope the community will ask PVH Nurses first.

 

Later that week, and this is the last little bit for this update we promise (there is SO much going on and this is condensed!), Jim met with Todd Salnas and Jamie Welsh, the new director of HR. The intent of the meeting was to share what has been happening throughout Negotiations from the Union’s perspective, the pitfalls we see if the dynamic doesn’t change, and to express a sincere wish to work closely with our employer to provide a safe place for the employees and patients of PVH. It was a good meeting and Todd expressed those same sentiments, adding that any concerns about Negotiations should be directed towards St Joe. He also said that from here forth, Jamie would be sitting in during Negotiations as an active member of the Hospital’s team. Could be some changes coming. Good or bad? We will see. Nurse leaders we have spoken with have only reported positive interactions with Jamie.

 

Please do your best to make to the next SNP Board meeting this coming Monday, the 10th of September. It is again being hosted by 101N Brewing, 1304 Scott Street, Petaluma from 4 to 8pm.

 

Food will be served!

 

Thanks everyone,

SNP Leadership

 

Bargaining Unit Update August 2018

Hi Everyone,

Our last Bargaining Unit meeting was hosted by 101North Brewing here in Petaluma. A big thanks to everyone who came out and for those of you who were unable to make it, you missed a great evening. Sara Jackson went crazy on her catering! It was all so good! The menu consisted of Chicken a la Creme, Persian Chicken, an Indian Cauliflower/Potato dish, two seasoned rice dishes, homemade tortillas, and salad with homemade dressing. Couple that with the large selection of house made ales and whew!... try and find something to complain about. We had the proposals that the Hospital has been sending across the table (exactly as they were sent) available for viewing. It was very telling how Nurses felt about what they were reading from watching their facial expressions change as they read the most egregious proposals. We discussed ADO (assignment despite objection) forms; how, when and why to use them. We heard from Nurses on the issues they have been dealing with, including incorrect reimbursement for time worked, understaffing to fit the “Matrix”, and management’s recent technique of TWRing which doesn’t follow the contract, and is in essence putting some of you “on-call” without pay.

 

Overall, it was a very successful night. It exceeded our expectations. It didn’t cost very much and even if it had, it would have been worth every penny… A comfortable setting outside the Hospital walls where we can meet as a group, talk freely and problem solve, is priceless.  It is so important at this stage in Negotiations for all of you to be fully aware of what is happening, why we are seeing such terrible proposals being sent across the table, how these proposals would negatively effect your role as a patient advocate, and most importantly, what we as a whole can do to ensure we are competitive and maintain our ability to keep our patients safe when a contract is ratified.

 

The night was so successful we are going to do it again next month on the 10th of September.  Same place, same time (4-8pm). Watch for the E-vite. (We are going to send it out closer to the date so there are not so many reminders sent and we know too many of those are annoying. The E-vite is free, but we all know nothing is truly free). You can help us out by responding quickly to that E-vite.  We will need an accurate head count so Sara knows how much food to make.

 

101N Bewing loved hosting us. Both owners were on site and said it was the best Monday night they have had in a long time. Next time they said they will roll out the “red carpet”. I have no idea what that means but please plan to attend! There is so much to learn and get caught up on pertaining to Negotiations alone, but this is also a time to share and get to know the rest of the Nurses throughout the Hospital and what the struggles/issues are in their Units. Use the time to find out ways to best support and assist each other with those struggles and we will all be stronger in the end because of it. In this way, a simple Bargaining Unit meeting becomes so much more.

 

ADOs: Use them anytime staffing is not what it should be. Don’t hesitate or be afraid. This is your right and duty as a patient advocate. Any one of you can fill them out. They can be used for the entire unit, certain assignments, or an individual assignment. They can be used for all or part of a shift. They make a difference folks. It is our job to alert the Hospital to an unsafe staffing situation and it is the responsibility of the Hospital to fix that situation. If the Hospital is unable or unwilling to do so, the legal responsibility for any negative patient outcome needs to be shifted onto them. Your license should not be jeopardized because of insufficient staffing and/or support.

 

TWRs: Be careful here... We are getting reports that the way TWRing is being dealt out is not unlike being put “on-call” without pay. The Hospital is only allowed to TWR you for the ENTIRE shift or for the last 4 or less hours (if you work 8s) or for the last 8 or less (if you work 12s), UNLESS you agree.  What has been happening, for example, is the AC calls a day shift RN and says, “Hi so and so, you are getting your voluntary TWR. Just call back at 1pm to see if you need to come in at 3pm”.  This is ONLY acceptable if you as the Nurse are OK with that scenario. You have the right (and this goes for Mandatory TWRs as well) to say,” I only agree to be TWR’d if it is for the WHOLE shift”.  That is contractual.  The AC will have to decide then if you will be TWRd for the whole shift and if they are unwilling to do that, you will be brought in to work and someone else will get TWRd. It is YOUR call.

 

Lead Nurse: The Lead Nurse position is not meant to advantage or disadvantage an RN who is willing to assume the role. What is being reported is that certain nurses are being denied a requested voluntary TWR because “they are the only RN on shift who is willing to perform the Lead role”. Lead Nurse is a voluntary position. If you find yourself in this situation and find it unfair, you may step down from the Lead Nurse role for that day. Per contract, the unit tasks normally undertaken by the Lead can be done by other RNs (Admin RNs can do these tasks as well) that are on shift. Again, this is your right and YOUR call.

 

OK, that is it for the August Update. Keep an eye out for the latest Negotiating Update. We learned some VERY interesting and disturbing pieces of information concerning how the Hospital’s negotiating team has been operating and WHO they are answering to. More on that soon. We are trying to send only one necessary email at a time and not one on top of the other to prevent OVERLOAD (smiling).

 

Take Care Everyone,

 

Jim Goerlich

SNP President

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: July 9th 2018

Hello PVH Nurses,

 

We will keep this update as short and sweet as possible...

 

The good news... the Hospital came back to the table agreeing to more days for negotiating in September for a total of 4 days now. Yeah!  We have been continually running into the problem of the Hospital limiting Negotiations to once or twice a month and our previous requests for more days had gone unfulfilled.  We sent notice to the Hospital that we had let the Federal Mediator know of our situation and that if more days were not provided, we would be contacting the National Labor Board.  When they came to the table on the 9th, the Hospital lawyer said there was no need for us to threaten them to get dates, all we needed to do was ask.  So we did.  We asked for at least 6 to 8 days to Negotiate in October.  They said they would get back to us with dates. 

 

The bad news… the Hospital continues to send language across the table that would never be deemed acceptable by this Bargaining Unit and your team of Negotiators would never suggest that you ratify any contract that contained language like it. This session, the Hospital proposed to eliminate all Lead Nurse language and all the protections associated with it and  they would like to implement Mandatory Overtime to be used at their discretion.  They proposed language permitting mandatory shift rotation to fit the needs of the Hospital and eliminate language related to all the types of Leaves of Absence from the contract that Nurses use regularly as an educational tool when it comes to clarifying their options when a L.O.A is needed, just to name a few.

 

Folks, if you haven’t already, it is time to get yourselves very familiar with what exactly your employer is trying to pull here.  You need to understand what will happen if this type of language is brought in to your workplace.  If asking nicely and being reasonable can’t even get us days at the Negotiating table, do you think it will get us the language we need to protect our patients and ourselves?

 

 

This cartoon made us think about the spirit and/or intent behind the language the Hospital has been proposing during Negotiations.

 

Thanks everyone,

SNP Leadership

 

Bargaining Unit Negotiations Update: July 23rd 2018

Hello PVH RNs,

There is not too much to report from our last negotiating session on July 23rd and we will explain why. On day one of negotiations, the Hospital lawyer made it very clear that the Hospital was choosing not to recognize anything out of our current contract. She stated that since we were a new union and working off of an "expired" contract, the Hospital expected that the two parties would go through each and every article in that contract. We would not be permitted to say "SNP would like to leave articles X,Y and Z as is" and present language only on those articles we wanted to amend or add to. Alright, we were hoping the Hospital could take the high road here and help expedite the process of getting us to an acceptable contract, but apparently not.

 

So, we began the process of sending across proposals that we found necessary to include in the contract. This is a laborious and time consuming process, but ok, there is some good that can come out of going through every single article too. We are all becoming very familiar with the finer points in our contract and that familiarity should lead to better protections for you and your patients. During every single bargaining session SNP has been sending new proposals and counter proposals, always moving closer to getting all the “non-economics” on the table for discussion. At first, the Hospital behaved in much the same fashion. They responded to some proposals, sent ones of their own, and although they refused to work in the same format as we do (which has made it a bit confusing at times on our end), they sent things across for us to parse through, allowing us to show you exactly what they would like to turn your contract into.

 

On July 18th, after almost a month apart, the Hospital came to the table with ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. The Hospital then said three things... They didn't have any proposals because it was now their position that it was the Union's job to present any language that it wants in the contract, not theirs. They said they would like ALL of our proposals put together into one packet, at one time and then they would respond to them as a whole. Also, they expressed their distaste for the updates that have been coming to you from SNP. They said they felt that the two parties have accomplished much at the Bargaining Table and that they would like more positive statements in our communications to you about the goings on during Negotiations.

 

Well, we don't know what to say folks. We keep getting mixed messages. Case in point, the Hospital later in the day responded to a couple of the proposals we sent across, not waiting for everything in it's entirety (we are not unhappy about that... that is what is expected, but it contradicts what the Hospital had just asked for). Is all of this just stall techniques and power struggles? Who knows. We do know that the Hospital is not behaving at all like an entity that really wants to do right by the workers and patients of PVH. Maybe that is a part of the message that the PHCD Board and the community at large need to hear if things don't change soon. If St. Joe wants to be the future operator of PVH (and mind you they claim to care so much about PVH’s employees, their well-being, and that of the patients we care for) then those sentiments should be apparent in any language proposed by the Hospital at the Bargaining Table . If they are unwilling to do the job of operating PVH right, then we don't want them. This means, in part, coming to an agreement of a new contract in a timely fashion and one that provides for and protects our staff and our patients alike. We in SNP know what needs to be in our contract and we will keep sending the necessary language across to them when it is appropriate to do so. Some counter proposals will take longer because we will be seeking your input on certain topics via survey questions here on the website. The main thing is, as long as you are backing us and telling us to fight for that necessary language, we will. We haven't come as far as we have together, just to get weak contract language with little to no actual protections from the corporate line.

 

On a positive note... During our last Negotiating session, we were all in agreement that the conversation at the table was the most productive yet, and Administration gave some good feedback and insights from their perspective on our proposals. More of that can only be a good thing. Don’t forget to respond to your evite to the next SNP Board/Bargaining Unit Meeting at 101N Brewery on August 13th from 4 - 8pm. We will have all the proposals as sent back and forth available for you to look at and ask questions about. Come and have some great food and drink, talk about the issues, discuss ways forward and what to expect from the Negotiating process and get your questions answered.

 

Until Next Time,

 

SNP Leadership

 

Update July 2018

Hello PVH Nurses,

 

I hope this update finds you well.  There a quite a few topics to tackle so I am just gonna jump in... 

 

We are very excited to announce that 101North Brewing has agreed to host our August board and BU meeting!  Come join us for an evening of good food and great beer, while getting caught up to speed on everything related to your union and our current contract negotiations. We will have something amazing for dinner on site catered by our own Sara Jackson (if you have never had her cooking, you are in for a real treat) and of course 101N has a large selection of beers on tap.  We will be there from 4 until 8pm.  Watch for an evite coming your way and please RSVP as soon as possible so we make sure we have enough food for everyone. If turnout is good and you all like having BU meetings here, give us some feedback. This could easily become a regular venue for BU meetings.

 

101 North Brewing Co.

1304 Scott St,

Petaluma, Ca

94954

 

ADO Forms:  Keep up the good work filling these out whenever staffing is insufficient and/or your assignment is unsafe. The regular use of these forms are making a difference in all units. Not only do they protect your license, they protect your patients by alerting the Administrative Coordinators to unsafe situations and a need for more help in your unit.  The Hospital gets a copy of all ADOs filed, which helps in trending where staffing issues are a regular problem and encourages better staffing. 

 

Negotiations: Our next day set for Negotiations is this coming Wednesday, the 18th of July. We will let you know what happens there. On that note, there have been a few of you asking to see the proposals already sent by the Hospital, exactly as they were delivered across the table. You are always more than welcome to take a look at them. We haven't yet posted them as they were sent to us because the format the Hospital has been using when writing proposals has been somewhat unclear and confusing to say the least. We will have all proposals, exactly as sent during the course of Negotiations, available for you to decipher, question and comment on, at our next Board meeting in August.

 

New Hire Packets: We have had a lot of New Hires recently and are working to get a New Hire Packet into each of your hands. It is full of a lot of  information important to your working at PVH and being a part of SNP.  Everything from who your unit Reps are to "What is an ADO and when and why you would need to fill one out."  

 

On-line Surveys: To all of you who have taken the time to complete our on-line survey, "Thank You". Your participation and feedback is an important piece of Negotiations. In doing so, you are providing the Negotiating Team with valuable direction at the table. We can say to the Hospital, "Our Nurses are informed and have been polled as to how they would like us to proceed as it pertains to (say... management rights) ." If you have not yet taken the  survey, please do so asap by logging into the forum and following the links to take the survey. With issues logging into the forum email Molly at mollyluvender@gmail.com. These survey questions will continue to change as different topics and/or issues arise during Negotiations, so please be familiar with the process.

 

Annette: A memorial service in remembrance of our friend and colleague Annette Santarini was held this past Thursday. It was a beautiful ceremony with Annette's brother reading her eulogy. It was so well written and it painted such a spot on description of who Annette was and what she stood for. The eulogy included a poem describing the life cycle, interactions and attributes of a leaf, that Annette herself requested be read to those in attendance. In essence, her last teachings to us. It was so wonderful to see so many of our colleagues in attendance, who have either retired or have found work in other facilities, that we haven't seen in a while. We are all truly blessed in having been able to call Annette our friend. 

 

Okay all, that is it for now.  Keep an eye out for that invite to 101North Brewing, August 13th and RSVP please.  

 

Talk with you soon and wish us luck on the 18th!

 

SNP Leadership

 

BARGAINING UNIT NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE: JUNE 8th 2018

Hello PVH nurses,

 

For those of you who were employed at PVH back in December, do you remember St Joseph saying they thought you should vote for “No Union” because a union wasn’t needed at PVH? The Hospital said it would take care of its employees and treat them fairly, etc. We in SNP said at the time that a Union was only needed if an employer failed to do the right thing. In the months ahead, St. Joseph would determine how much of a Union presence would be needed in the Hospital.

 

If they treated nurses fairly when it came to fact findings and issuing disciplines there wouldn’t be much, if any, intervention by the Union. If they indeed wanted to provide a stable workplace, providing safety measures for staff and patients, providing competitive wages and benefits, etc. they could. They could come to negotiations and offer solid proposals meant to support, educate and keep their staff safe. Proposals that would encourage the hiring and retention of quality nursing staff. If they really cared about the nursing staff the way the claim to, they would have their opportunity to prove it.

 

After three days of sitting across the bargaining from the Hospital, it is apparent to us that they have no intention of doing anything close to the above mentioned ideas, without serious pushback from all of us. That pushback begins with you having knowledge of what they are proposing. Here are the “highlights of greatest concern” from what they have proposed thus far:

    

    Article II: Coverage.... The Hospital would like to have the exclusive right to create new classifications of nurses that could perform bedside care. There would be no limit on how many of these nurses there could be and these nurses would not have to be included in the Bargaining Unit. So there could easily be an entire new workforce created to take over our jobs and the Hospital would have a work force of “at will” employees.

    

    Article III: Partnership Rights.... The Hospital would like to get rid of all language allowing Nurse Negotiators to get off shift in order to be present for negotiations. They are proposing to only agree to deduct dues owed the Union on the condition that we don’t allow the contract to expire during the course of Negotiations, which would cause a hardship and weaken our strength as a whole during a crucial time in the negotiating process. The language as proposed is evidence of “Bad Faith Bargaining”. The Hospital would also like to seriously limit the access Employee/Nurse Reps have to you, the Bargaining Unit and to the hospital in general and as written, would bar anyone not employed by the Hospital, but working for SNP, from having access pretty much at all. Finally, they would like complete control over the messaging that would be posted on the bulletin boards in your units. Anything to go up on the board, no matter what, would have to be “ok’d” by Human Resources. It would be the equivalent of a government that controlled all the messaging of the media to it’s people. This type of muffling endangers your work environment and your ability to protect your patients.

 

    Article V: Management Rights....Our current language states that the Hospital has all rights allowed it unless otherwise stated in the contract. Period. Clear. The Hospital is proposing language that would be so broad and vague that almost every dispute imaginable going forward could fit under the umbrella argument that the new Management Rights language “gives the Hospital the ‘right’ to do whatever...” "We moved you to another department? Well, yes, we did, but it needed to be done to fit the needs of the Hospital. Sorry about that.”... ”What’s that?... We can’t do that?... Yes we can. Please read Article V in your contract.” That is just one of many examples of what would be possible if this language was accepted.

 

    Article XXXV: Successorship.... This is the language that protects your contract in the event the Hopsital is sold or comes under new ownership. This Language has been key in protecting your contract thus far in this process of finding a successive operator for PVH. The Hospital is proposing to eliminate it entirely, stating “You don’t need this language.”... Uh-huh, Yeah right.

 

You will soon find a section on our website, snponline.net, where we will be posting some of the actual language the Hospital proposes, as it is written by them. That way you can see for yourself what is being proposed. One thing to remember when reading a proposal: Not only is it important to pay attention to what is included in the language, but also what is not present in the language. If something is not specifically defined, it is open to interpretation. Being vague is not a good thing.

 

Thanks everyone for all you continue to do in support. There are a lot of good people doing good work on behalf of us all. We have a new logo!  We are having some SNP paraphernalia being made up, so keep an eye out and get some! The Hospital needs to see a constant visual reminder of your commitment to each other and your patients.

 

SNP Leadership

 

BARGAINING UNIT NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE: MAY 4th 2018

Hello PVH Nurses,

SNP got a little feedback from some of you related to the update that went out after day 1 of negotiations. What we heard was that you wanted more details and information on how it went. Overall we weren't too impressed with what was accomplished on day 1, but that said, we didn't really have very high expectations of getting much done the first day either. Day 1 is usually about laying the groundwork/expectations for negotiations between the two parties.  We did put some very, very simple proposals on the table that day because we wanted to see how the Hospital would respond and see if we could get a better feel for what to expect strategy wise on their part.  

 

When we said in that first update that there were some red flags, what we meant was that the Hospital countered on day 1 on a couple of those should be simple, easy to accept proposals, with language that, if agreed upon, would seriously undermine many safety protections for the nurses and patients of PVH. We didn't get into the details of each proposal because it is early in the process and there are many other proposals/counters to come from both sides. It was possible that those initial counters to our proposals could have just been some posturing by the Hospital’s negotiating team. We wanted to see what happened on day 2 before we said more.

     

Day 2:  The Hospital opened with a handful of proposals and counter proposals. Again, what we saw was a lot of language proposed by the Hospital, that if accepted, would have some serious downsides related to workplace/patient safety, as well as cause problems to your immediate work environment, your schedule, the hiring and retainment of RNs, and your benefits. The Articles of concern which have proposals/counters on the table so far and of which you should take a few minutes to read through and understand if you haven’t already, are Articles 2,3,4,7,8, and 35. Oh, and please read your preamble.  If you can believe it, the Hospital is having trouble agreeing to even that.  If you don’t have access to a hard copy of our contract, there is an online version of it here on the website.

 

Negotiations are all about leverage. How long this process takes and how good our contract will be at the end of that process depends mostly on how active, informed and dedicated we are as a group. It will take your involvement to get the provisions in the contract we know we need to do our jobs well. 

 

One way we can do this will be through the Forum Section on this website.

   

We will regularly post any alarming language sent across the table by the Hospital so you can read it for yourself. We will tell you why we think this language is unacceptable, share with you what language we have had in the past or what type of language we would be looking for in order to get a sign off on a particular issue. In the Forum, you may then make a reply, suggestion, or ask a question about what you have read. If you haven't signed up, please do so immediately so we can make informed decisions as a whole.

 

Another way we are doing this is through regular surveys. Again, on the website. These will have more specific questions for you to respond to, giving your Negotiating Team valuable input. You will help guide and inform the Team as to how important certain issues and/or getting certain language in your contract (i.e. safety nets) is to you and protect your ability to provide safe patient care.

 

Again as this process moves forward, the more informed, vocal, mobile and willing we are as a whole to participate in this process and take our message into the community, the more direct impact we will have on how quick and effective these negotiations are.  It will effect how much retro pay you will receive, how competitive you wage and benefits will be with surrounding hospitals, how dependable your schedule is, how much bedside/unit help you will have, etc. It doesn't matter how 'right' we are on any given topic in our conversations at the table. In the end, the only thing that moves the other side is their knowledge that when our team is speaking, we are speaking for an informed and cohesive group of nurses who are willing and ready to stand up for what they believe in.  

 

The next SNP Board Meeting is this Monday, May 14th from 4-6pm in Groverman Hall. Bargaining Unit members are invited to come for the last half hour to ask any questions you may have. The next negotiation dates are June 1st and 8th. We are encouraging anyone interested in sitting in on Negotiating sessions to let us know. You would only be there as an observer, but it is interesting and important. Having nurses sit in and listen as the Hospital proposes to dismantle our contract is helpful to our team in many ways. It can be a real eye-opener as to what our workplace will look like if St. Josephs meets with a lack of resistance from PVH Nurses.

 

That is it for now.

 

Thanks everyone,

 

SNP Leadership

 

BARGAINING UNIT NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE: APRIL 24th 2018

Hello PVH Nurses,

Day 1 of negotiations has come and gone, and although it wasn’t all roses, it was a fairly productive first day.

 

There are a couple of people representing the Hospital who are relatively new to working in the PVH arena, so we started out the morning with introductions and discussing the reasons why and how long PVH RN’s have been fighting to get to this day. We presented a couple of short videos, one of which most of you have seen or were involved in making. This was the CNA/ST. Joseph Wedding video. We also presented a new segment of a larger project that was more of a documentary style piece concerning what PVH Nurses expect from negotiations and what are fighting for.

 

Both sides expressed a desire to expedite the process, but SNP made it clear that we would not sacrifice the integrity and hard won protections in our contract of 30 years just to get the negotiations done quickly.

 

Overall, some progress was made, but there were some red flags raised as well. We will share more of the specifics as the process unfolds.  We’re just getting started.

 

We were able to schedule additional negotiating days in May and June.

 

Our next negotiation day is Friday, May 4th.

 

Thanks everyone, we will talk with you soon,

 

Your SNP Negotiating Team

 

 

Update April 2018

Dear PVH Nurses,

We need to update you all on a couple of things.

NEGOTIATIONS: Negotiations begin April 24th 2018. You have some responsibilities in aiding our ability to negotiate the best contract possible. 

First and foremost, you will notified from time to time during negotiations, via text and/or e-mail to go to the website(snponline.net) or to click a link that will take you to a survey, to answer some questions which will give the negotiating team some feedback on an issue. Your participation with this will be critical to your Bargaining Team knowing how hard to fight for any certain issue. We can also take the information gathered, right back to the negotiating table and say, for example, "95% of our Nurses responded when polled on the Hospital's proposal around PTO and 98% of those Nurses said under no circumstances would they except this offer." 

The first part of this process will begin with a group text which will come out shortly.  It will instruct you to go to the website(snponline.net)and in the upper right hand side of the opening page is a spot labeled, FORUM.  You will see a place to click that says, "CREATE ACCOUNT". Follow the prompts and once you are finished, someone on our end will verify you and from then on, you will have access. There will be a little delay but you will be notified when your account is active. Going to the website and answering these surveys, will be the best way for you to stay up to date and aware of things as they happen during the negotiating process.  Again, watch for that text. 

OVERTIME FOR YOUR WEEKEND OFF: A couple weeks ago there was an text that went out from the AC saying that anyone willing to work the extra weekend (not your normal weekend) would recieve time and a third pay.  ARTICLE X: HOURS OF WORK, SECTION C. states, "All full and part-time Nurses shall receive every other weekend off, unless waived in writing by the individual Nurse on her/his availability form. If the Nurse does not waive this benfit she/he shall be compensated at time and one-half(1 1/2)the base hourly rate, plus any applicable differentials, for any hours worked on consecutive weekends. If this is applicable to you, make sure you have been paid correctly.  Any needed corrections can go on your time sheet.

More soon everyone,

SNP Leadership

 

Update March 2018

Hello PVH RNs,

Quick update for you all.  First, good job everyone on the ADO process! We have been receiving your ADOs, which as we have stated, not only protect your license for the shift you have filled it out about, but it will also help us in the fight for getting staffing levels to a consistently safe place in your unit. We have had an uptick in the amount of submitted ADOs  from almost every unit  over the last couple of months, which tells me the ADO education piece we've been working on with you has been time well spent. Keep up the good work everyone. Keep advocating for the safety of your patients and your  license. Don't hesitate to speak up and put that ADO in. It is a very effective tool when used consistently in upholding the oath we took when we accepted our role as a Registered Nurse.

Secondly, thanks to all of you who signed up over the last month to donate regularly to SNP. The numbers are looking better all the time. It is so nice to have something to work with. Please keep up the good work here too. If you haven't signed up yet for some reason, please do so now. There are many people now familiar with the process and they are willing to help you, just ask. It is so easy. We are edging very close to negotiations now and need to shift our focus away from donations. Help us do that by getting your name off the "Has Not Donated Yet" list. 

On that note, we heard from the Hospital and they are putting together a list of dates they are available for negotiating. We will let you know more soon.

Lastly, the party this Thursday, the 22nd, is shaping up very nicely. It is going to be so fun.  If you haven't RSVP one way or the other, please do that now. It is very hard to plan for something like this without all the information of how many people might be attending. Since the up front costs for this is coming out of our pockets, it is also important because we really don't want to buy more supplies than we need, but we do want to make sure we have enough of everything too. There are still lots of opportunities to donate supplies and/or help set up. We are specifically looking for donations for the grille, the bar and drinks in general. I think the dining ware is covered. Even if you can't make it that night, you can still donate something and help provide your fellow nurses with a well deserved night of relaxation and fun. Thanks in advance.

That's it for now and I hope to see you all Thursday,
Jim Goerlich

SNP President

 

Update January 2017 - Outreach

Hey You Guys,

Hope things are as well with you as they can be. In my house everyone has been off and on sick for a month.  I'm so sick of sick. 

So, the main gist of this update is to hopefully get all of you more involved and actively supporting your union, your hospital and your coworkers.  This update is coming out one month since we were officially recognized as the new union and your union leaders have been anything but idle. You may not realize it, but hardly a day goes by where many of us have not logged some hours taking care of organizing this thing or that, on a phone conference, in a meeting with community leaders and/or other union organizers, drafting important forms for use in keeping your practice and patients safe, accounting and tax preparation, booking events, working on social media outlets and preparing for negotiations.  There have been very few days off. It is all good stuff, for a great cause.  There is a lot for you to get excited about and so much to help with.  Please don't wait.  The time is now. If you are wondering what's happening and how you can help, ask!  This is your union, you voted to have it, to be a part of it and it will be that much stronger and effective with your participation.

We have a need for people who are not too afraid of their computer or are willing to learn to conquer that fear, to help with regular updates on our website and forums.  We need people who want to be more involved with learning about the transition process and the community outreach that is being planned around that(this is very very exciting) to join in the discussions and meetings.  We need help organizing and holding bargaining unit meetings soon around the use of our new ADO form and we need help planning a party(This will be an especially fun job. Creative decorators welcome) to celebrate the end of the long fight in getting to this point. Again, don't wait, we need you. Anytime you can offer is appreciated and sorely needed.

We also need your voluntary dues. Some nurses asked me on my last rotation, when can we start paying dues? Now. Yesterday, if possible. If you are already paying dues, thank you so much. If you are not, please please please, get on it. We are operating on a shoe string. There is another email coming out with more detail as to why we need/how we use your contribution and how you can donate easily, but folks, we can't operate and represent you as you deserve without funds.  It is not possible. One arbitration could cost $20,000!  But, if everyone of us(and there roughly 130 RNs in our Bargaining unit)made a monthly contribution, we could easily bring in that $20, 000 in a few months time.  It doesn't take much if everyone does their part.

Our next SNP meeting is on February 12th, in Groverman Hall between 4 and 6pm. Plan on coming. See and hear what is going on first hand.  

"There is so much opportunity at your fingertips if you will but lend a hand."

Thanks, and again wishing you and your families health and well-being,

Jim

SNP President

 

Voting Day Results

Voting results for

Staff Nurse Partnership

 No - 4

Yes - 101

 

 

 

 

Job well done!!!!  

It has been an amazing 2 days and this was the strongest show of support we have ever had for any vote. This showed your continued support as RN’s at PVH.  The official tally did not reflect the true turnout.  However you voted, we hope to show you the importance of having Union representation in PVH.  

We will provide more details after we get some needed sleep.


SNPLeadership

 

Hospital Flyer Prior to Vote

Hello Nurses.

Have you seen the flyer the hospital recently put out titled, "Did You Know?". If not, we have attached it to this email.  We're not sure what the end goal would be for the hospital in putting this out. Maybe they are just trying to weaken the vote. Maybe they are hoping to convince you to vote for not having a union at all.  Who knows? 

Many of us within SNP wish unions were not necessary. If employers did right by their employees and did it fairly, a union might not be necessary. Don't forget, there were many reasons why our ancillary staff voted for NUHW to represent them just a short time ago.

That said, we wanted to share something that we believe is unique about SNP. After all the effort it took for PVH RNs to get a vote for Union Representation and all the energy CNA exerted in trying to prevent us from holding this election, SNP plans to regularly ask you, the Bargaining Unit, if you want us to continue representing the nurses in PVH.  If at some point, you do not feel we are representing you like we should, a majority vote from the Bargaining Unit would trigger us to petition the NLRB to conduct a vote for Union Representation. We believe this provision should be a part of the regular housekeeping duties any union must perform in order to keep that union honest and working hard for the employees it represents.

So, going forward, while under the protection of a contract, the hospital has an opportunity here to prove itself as an employer. It can show us what kind of an employer it would like to be. It can make it's case for "No Union Necessary".

 

  • The hospital will do this when it comes time to negotiate, by what it offers to give as well as what it offers to take away. 
  • It will do this by how well they staff our units.  We will judge this by how hard we have to fight daily for safe staffing and by tracking the amount of ADO’s (Assignment Despite Objection Form)each unit needs to fill out.
  • It will do this by demonstrating how willing they are to work together with this Bargaining Unit/Union in problem solving issues collaboratively and by how they conduct themselves around grievances and disciplinary meetings.

 

People can say anything. Doing what you say is a very different thing. Let the hospital prove their claim while your livelihood and your patients are under the protection of a contract.  It is your safety net.

SNP Leadership

P.S. One last thing... The hospital is claiming that not having union contract allows them the flexibility to give additional market-based increases when applicable.  Just so YOU know and more importantly, so the hospital knows, even when we have a contract, SNP will gladly talk about additional wage increases, at any time, if the hospital feels it would like to do so.

 

Voting Day Scheduled

Dear Nurses,


I cannot believe after all this time and everything that we have gone through over the last couple of years, that I find myself getting to write this email.  This is no longer a "when" we get our vote, the is "We ARE getting our vote!" for representation.

The vote is scheduled for December 12th and 13th!  I cannot stress this enough, it is a "All hands on deck!" performance.  We need EVERYONE of you to make your way to the hospital that day to cast a ballot.  

It has taken an enormous amount of work by many hands to get this vote so please honor all that hard work by making a VERY strong statement for SNP on election day.  


If that isn't reason enough, we have not had a wage increase in years and the last couple we received under CNA were like a percent here and there. We are WAY overdue for some wages and the absolute best first step you can make in getting those wage increases is showing solidarity and in LARGE numbers, when you vote. If say, 98% of the BU turns out to vote on December 12thand 13th, that is a message that will make a HUGE difference in the amount of leverage SNP has at the bargaining table. A weak turnout sends the opposite message and your negotiating team is sent to the table crippled.  Your vote is a crucial step in the success or failure of this effort.


Had CNA stayed in the fight for the privledge of representing the nurses in PVH, SNP would have told all of you that if the union you were looking to be a part of was one where you weren't expected to be directly involved in decision making, weren't asked to do much except walk a picket line, strike or ratify a contract when told,  then CNA was your choice.  

If we are going to be successful, SNP will need direct involvement from you all.  We care about you and your families. We care about your practice and your patients.  It is our practice and they are our patients as well. We will fight hard for these things, with everything we've got, but you must meet us in the middle.  

That will mean, staying informed.  Checking this SNP website regularly.  Be active and give input in the forums on the website, come to BU meetings when you can and share concerns or help  with the problem solving of issues with us.  Many hands make light work.

So, once again to solidify the dates:

 

 

Tuesday, December 12th,

Hours: 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m 

6:30 pm to 8:30pm

                     

AND

    

Wednesday, December 13th,

Hours: 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.,

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m,                    

2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The vote will be held in BURNS HALL


Until then, congratulations everyone! Really and there is no exaggeration here, you have been a part of an unprecedented achievement. The reigns to your practice, while you work at PVH, are once again, solely in YOUR Hands.

Sincerely, 

Jim and all of SNP Leadership 

 

Vote Imminent

Dear Nurses,

As you've probably seen or heard by now, the ULP (Unfair Labor Practice)that was blocking our vote over union representation has been settled! This is very good news so far. I say "so far", because of the conversation I had last Friday with the National Labor Relations Board. According to that Board, as long as St. Joseph's postings, email notifications and the now revised "Solicitation and Distribution" policy, conforms to what was agreed upon in the settlement and these same items have been out in the public for 60 days, the processing of our petition for decertification of CNA can go forward. That would have us holding our vote in November!

The Labor Board did say however that this is the timeline barring any further ULPs filed by the CNA. Would CNA try something like that again?  It is hard to say.  They have done everything they can to this date to deny us this vote and whatever ULP they filed would have to have some real merit behind it otherwise, the NLRB will recognize it as just another stall technique. So, we're not totally out of the woods yet, but we look to be very close.

One question we are hearing from many of you is, "Why do we have to wait another 60 days to have our vote?" Here is the shortest answer I know.

The complaint, (ULP)filed with the NLRB by CNA against St. Joe involve the "Solicitation and Distribution" policy which St. Joe revised in 2015, on the heels of CNA's attempt to raid the bargaining unit in SRMH during their last negotiations. CNA's behavior during that unsuccessful raid attempt was terrible(even following nurses into patient rooms to try and persuade Memorial nurse to decertify SNA and join CNA). However, the revised 2015 policy went too far and was too limiting. It gave a union almost no access to the nurses.

CNA was able to use this complaint and ULP to hold up our vote since the same policy was put in place here PVH.  The irony is, as many of you can attest, that CNA has only ever had unlimited access to us here in PVH.  They have been able to come and go here over the years without issue.  However, their argument at the Labor Board was that their access to PVH nurses was extremely limited and a "free and fair" trial for representation could not be held here in PVH because of it.  CNA maintained that the challenging union PSNP (SNP), had an unfair advantage.  They said they were essentially cut off from PVH nurses, while PSNP, the proposed in-house union, had full access since we all work together.

So, the 60 days is to give CNA time to make their case with us. Total BS I know, but legally, that's the way it is.  Provided CNA doesn't try to stall this process further through filings with the Labor Board, you can expect an increase in activity by the CNA, here in the hospital and through emails, etc, over the next couple months.

On our end, all of us as a group, need to get ready. After the vote, we can start the negotiating process. Raises anyone?  The vote needs to have a large turnout, with a resounding message from the nurses backing the union of their choice!  That will give nurse the strength needed at the negotiating table.

As I mentioned in the last email, packets are being put together by SNP and will be distributed to you all, giving a refresher on the history of our situation and what has been accomplished so far in our effort to protect our contract and in our effort to start our own in-house union.  As we move closer to November, we will have drop in meetings and question and answer sessions so you can make an informed decision come voting day. Reminder that our website in snponline.net.

Before I finish, I want to send a quick "Thank You" out to you all.  None of us knew trying to get away from the CNA was going to be such a long, hard struggle.  Couple that with the difficulties of the transition of operations from St. Joseph's to Paladin and it became even more complicated and difficult to protect our contract and get our vote.  Without everyone's participation and effort along the way, we would not have arrived at this point. Really amazing.

That's it for now, talk with you very soon and don't hesitate to contact one of your reps or myself with any questions, etc.      

Jim Goerlich     

SNP President