Duluth Bargaining Update (June 3)

4 Jun

Today in our third bargaining session we greeted management with twice as many nurses as last week! Management’s reaction was to not show up on time. We had to bring our welcoming committee of nearly fifty nurses as well as family and community support to them! Our unity is showing and we need to keep it up for safe staffing and the best patient care.

Thoughts from Cindy Prout RN, MNA Chair, Saint Luke’s Hospital:

Management came in late and on the defensive and criticized our characterization of their proposals’ last week when I said they wanted nurses to be more flexible to fix their problems. This was a quote from me to what I believe was their message.  However, they did not say it wasn’t true!

For some of our staffing ratio proposals – which research has proven improves patient outcomes – they said that it was already in the staffing grid and matrix. They failed to agree to our staffing proposals today, however.

Some of the stories from the welcoming committee this morning were powerful. A .7 nurse said she had 32 hours of overtime in a pay period and she has chosen that FTE  for a reason.  Nurses are pushed to this point because we aren’t staffed to the level our patients need. The second part of the day was management explaining their process for staffing. We shared our staffing stories and felt as though they are beginning to listen to us. After today we believe the hospital may be willing to hear our stories. It is up to us now to tell them.

Thoughts from Kate Donovan, RN 7 West:

On the west side of St. Luke’s we are asked to flexible to the point where we do not have the registered nurses we need for the care our patients need and deserve. We are asked to do so much and there is no more room to give. We need specific nurse-to-patient ratios that will move us beyond providing the care we have time to give, to the care our patients need.

We have to put all of our energy into fixing staffing once and for all. It is clear that we do not agree on the way to fix our staffing with specific number of patients to a nurse. We have to show management that we are more united than ever as patient advocates for staffing levels that will allow us to be able to move forward from only providing the care we have time for to the care our patients need.

Thoughts from Pam Hyopponen, RN, Birthing Center:

I think ratios are important because it is beyond the staffing matrix and the grid. Ratios are concrete and enforceable and we need them to make St. Luke’s a place where nurses are proud to work and where we can provide the care we know how to give when we have enough nurses. Management said we need to let  them know up the chain of command. I don’t think they are getting the point. The nurses who have tried to use the chain of command haven’t gotten a good response. Why should we have to do this every day? The whole nurse group is tired of this, and it is enough.

Management said that they really needed to hear about our issues relating to staffing. This is crucial for every nurse to give at least one story to your Contract Action Team member or negotiating team member. They need to hear our stories and we have to fill them out.

We need you at SMDC’s next bargaining session, June 10th on the 3rd floor of the Tech Center at 0830-0900 to greet management for their next bargaining session because we support one another. We are Duluth Nurses! We are united, and we came out in big numbers this morning for our negotiations today!

June 16th is the next all nurse meeting at the Labor Temple, 2002 London Road, below the Reef Bar at four different times – 0800, 1330, 1600 and 2000. Parking is available in back. This meeting is very important – we will have had three negotiation sessions and will have a very good idea which direction bargaining is headed. We have to plan our next steps. It will be exactly 14 days until our current contract expires! RSVP right here on this blog in the comments section!

6 Responses to “Duluth Bargaining Update (June 3)”

  1. MNA RN June 4, 2010 at 3:02 am #

    Excellent job Duluth Nurses! Such strength and courage! Proud to be a Nurse! Go Duluth RNs! Stay strong, stay united!

  2. Pam Limmer June 4, 2010 at 5:43 pm #

    Now is the time for all of us to be united with one voice. Our support for the negotiating team at the start of talks is a great way to show the hospitals and each other that we are strong. Fellow MNA members – come join us, you will be overwhelmed with the sense of committment and unity we have.

  3. Concerned Duluth Nurse June 4, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

    What is very concerning is that when the few nurses have been retiring now, they are so hesitant to replace those nurses if they do at all. What is going to happen in the next 3 years of this upcoming contract with a huge number retiring? They are going to leave the rest scrambling more than we are now. We have to make changes with this contract.

  4. Dan June 4, 2010 at 11:36 pm #

    Pam you are absolutely right! We need more and more nurses to show up at each session!

  5. Val June 9, 2010 at 3:30 am #

    Go Duluth nurses we support you!!! A Twin City RN with Healtheast!!

  6. Eileen June 10, 2010 at 9:26 pm #

    I am so very proud of my Duluth RN friends! Patient care and safety are the reasons we chose this profession. Stay strong. Your integrity will help you collectively win the battles you face every day. I miss you and MNA!

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