Jennie Edmundson Nurses – Update

12 Nov

Sharon Hoffman, RN, OPS

Steve Baumert came to OPS for a meeting about the Hospital position on MNA.  Here are some of the questions made by individuals and the basic response from Steve.  He was accompanied by Marsha Joens–OPS supervisor, Peggy–Director of Nursing for the hospital, and Mary Hildebrand the Ops/Surgery nurse educator.  I found that interesting that they could bring all of them to a meeting with us but we cannot bring anyone from the MNA.

Question to Steve:  If you want us to give you one year to work with us and we find out at the end of that year that we want to go back to the union will you put in writing that you will allow that to happen—Response: “No.”

Question to Steve:  How is it you will work with us during that year?  Response: “The way we have been currently.”

Question to Steve:  Well if you are continuing to work with us like you are then why don’t you come to the monthly unit meetings between the Union and Management?  Response:  He felt that Peggy was representing him and the issues are nursing based and that is her field of expertise.

Question to Steve:  Well you have not been to one meeting this year according to the minutes of those unit meetings but Peggy is attendance along with two representatives of Methodist Hospital, but yet you say you will work with us how will you do that?  Response:  Well we also work with you through our “Rounding.”

Question to Steve:  But our department has not seen “Rounding” in a long time.  He responded a little mad now, Oh yes we are rounding!

Statement from staff:  Well I have not seen any rounding this year but I am part time let’s ask the staff present “has any one seen rounding in our department?”  Staff–“NO” Let’s ask a nurse who is full time and usually at the desk area “Has our department seen rounding in the last several months or longer?”  Staff nurse–“No there has not been rounding in a very long time.”  Managers and Peggy then got defensive and responded with “Oh we have been rounding”–We left that they may be rounding but not in our department.

Next set of questions:

Question to Steve:  Do you agree that the Jennie Nurses are intelligent?  Response: “Yes.”

Question to Steve:  Do you agree that the Nurses here like their jobs and that may be why we have such long-term careers established here at Jennie?  Response;”Yes.”

Question to Steve:  Do you believe we are strong group of nurses to be the only union of Nurses in this area?  Response: “Yes.”

Question to Steve:  Then why do you think we will join MNA to have MNA decide our agenda and take on Minnesota issues.  Do you think we can be “Brainwashed” to do MNA issues.  We are in Council Bluffs, Iowa not Minnesota.  Response:  he would not answer; he skirted around the subject and asked for new questions.

He accused MNA of being aggressive and using aggressive language.  It was pointed out that MNA had not used aggressive language that they were not “demanding to represent Jennie’s Nurses” That actually we had asked them to represent us!  We contacted them, not the reverse.

He made statements that MNA is just not the best choice for representing Jennie Nurses.

Question to Steve:  What nursing association can you recommend then that you think would better fit us?  Response:  He could not make a recommendation to just give him a year to work with us.

Question to Steve:  Why can’t you give us a year to see if we like MNA? After all they represent other unions in Iowa and we have not heard of any trouble with those unions being associated with MNA.  Response:  Well Spencer Hospital is a county Hospital and can’t strike so you can’t even compare them to anyone.  It will be very difficult for the Nurse’s to cut the tie to MNA if you once start up with them.

Question to Steve:  Why would it be difficult?  Response:  You don’t realize that it is a small window to stop their representation.  You won’t be able to do it, it takes a lot of work and organization to do that, I just don’t think you will be able to do it!  Again We Question “Why don’t you believe in us?” Response:  You just won’t be able to handle it.

He spoke of the Lawyer he hired for his “expertise in the labor relations board.”

Question to Steve: Did you hire him to bust the union?  Response “no, I hired someone who has expertise with labor relations.

Question to Steve:  This Lawyer advertises himself as a union busting lawyer, it is on his web site, isn’t that what he does bust unions?  Response:  no response skirted around the subject and took another question.

He did state that the union has a very good lawyer also–which I found interesting.

He stated that the Lawyer again was and is his idea; Methodist Hospital is not involved in this.

Question to Steve:  So if Methodist is not involved in any of this discussion why did John Fraser from Methodist put a post on Ernie with his beliefs, feelings?  Response: Again none, he skirted around the question to a new question.

12 Responses to “Jennie Edmundson Nurses – Update”

  1. Sammy November 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    You nurses in Iowa have no idea what you are getting into with MNA. They are ruthless in MN. They make promises that they of course can’t keep. Strike Strike Strike is all they talk about. Look at their website. All the pictures are during strikes. Dues are very expensive, and they make you pay, call them what you will, they make you pay.
    Jennie E. give your bosses a chance, give them a year. It has to be better than MNA.
    A MN. Nurse

    • Dan November 15, 2010 at 10:58 am #

      Sammy, it is amazing that your message is exactly that of management at Jennie Edmundson. Where are you from exactly? Tell the truth because it can be found out. What is most interesting are the lack of responses that Steve Baumert has to important questions.

    • Mary November 16, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

      My first response would be, if you don’t like MNA, then get out of your union. I would go on to say that there is strength in numbers. Our reasons for requesting MNA have nothing to do with what MNA has or has not promised us. We simply need representation. Our union officers are not going to change into some kind of monster just because our union is represented by MNA.
      Your response sounds exactly like one of our managers at our hospital….how are you related?

      • Florence November 16, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

        Once your are in MNA, it is tough getting out–decertifying is a long and difficult process. Unions are relentless and powerful and will try to take you down if you take them on. Think long and hard before you sign on.I can tell you from recent experience that your reps can be changed into monsters as they have brainwashing tactics that will make you wonder if you really know these peple anymore. Have you heard of Saul Alinsky? They run right out of that playbook. All I am saying is do your research before you jump on this wagon!

      • Sammy November 17, 2010 at 9:28 am #

        Mary and Dan
        I’m not related to management…if you can read I’m a MN nurse. And DAN I don’t appreciate your threats…but that’s MNA. Maybe you won’t turn into a monster..but good luck MNA will.

      • mnnurses November 17, 2010 at 9:46 am #

        Sammy – Your Internet information shows your comment was sent from a computer at the medical facility in Marshalltown, Iowa. As Blog Administrator I am given that information.

        So are you really a MN nurse? If so why would you be sending your comments from a computer at the Hospital in Marshalltown, Iowa?

  2. John November 22, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    Florence and any administration readying this,

    It is not a matter of if we join, “can we get out”. That is not our concern at the moment. If we don’t like them, than we can get out. This is OUR union, we make the calls for OUR union. MNA has proven so far to be a stronger organization than the INA. So far, management and administration have not proven that we can not trust them. They skirt our tough questions, remove our flyers from bulletin boards and mailboxes while replacing it with their own information in our mail boxes. Certain managers have brought staff into their office attempting to talk them out of voting yes. This manager also showed me a large binder with 15 chapters worth of information on MNA (salaries, expenditures, bi-laws). She told me to look at it and make an informed decision decision on my vote. I asked if I could see her numbers on hospital administration salaries and expenditures. She would not produce such information. I said “how can you expect me to make an informed decision if you can’t show me both sides of the story?”She could not answer my question.

    This may not be union related, but I was told by my manager and HR that if transfered to OPS I would lose my tuition reimbursement. I need to look over my sheet that I signed, but I do not remember it being tied to working my specific floor and shift. I am in the same institution, my tuition reimbursement should be honored no matter were I am at in the hospital.

    Also, without the union, what is there to stop administration to changing the staff matrix or simply removing it all together? To prevent over burdening nurses and CNAs with an unsafe number of patients? To keep managers in check from going overboard with their power? To stop them from cutting pay and benefits? ensuring safe patient care and proper equipment to care for patients? To ensure that the air conditioning on 4H gets fixed so that patients and staff aren’t stifled by the heat again this summer? NOTHING. Nothing but “their good word” and that “we should trust them”. They obviously don’t trust us, otherwise we wouldn’t have been taken to court! Without the union keeping management and administration in check, there is nothing to protect staff from the whims of management.

    Sure, maybe our current administrators will be fair to us now. But what is to stop the “powers that be” at methodist health system from replacing every single manager and administrator with people that will not honor the relationship that administration once had with its nurses? Perhaps the relationship between nurses and administration will one day be repaired someday. But at the current rate things are going, administration has torched the bridge of trust they built with nursing. They didn’t just burn it, they doused it in gasoline and threw a match on it.

    This could have been easy for all of us. We elected MNA to represent us because INA dumped us. You as administration could have done your homework on MNA and then decided to honor our decision and trust that we as the nurses of Jennie would continue to faithfully serve as we have in the past and be reasonable in our requests in bargaining. Instead, you chose to take the union to court and challenge us every, single step of the way and hired a union busting lawyer. How much is this lawyer costing you all? Hundreds of dollars an hour? Think about what the money could have gone to!!! New, safe equipment for patients like modern IV pumps that aren’t 15 years old, fixing the AC on 4H, raises for non-union employees, hiring more nurses to prevent short staffing and burning out staff with overtime or any other number of things you could dream of for patients and the staff!!! No, instead you’ve flushed it down the toilet with an expensive lawyer who already makes millions a year most likely. I hope you can justify such expenses to your patients when they know what else that money could have gone to!!

    Also, continued propaganda and pushing of the subject of union business by administration will only continue to antagonize the staff. By holding these “meetings” to answer “questions” and give “information”, it only takes us away from our true purpose at Jennie: patient care. Let me forewarn you, administration: if make these meetings “mandatory” you will only interfere with patient care. Taking your nurses away from their patients will decrease customer service because we will not be there to help our patients. If you choose to try and force us to come in for meetings on our off days, i hope you are prepared to pay for milage expenses. Many of us live an hour away and that costs money and wear and tear on our vehicles to come in. Many will not come to mandatory meetings on our off days because it is just not cost effective to drive an hour and back to come in for an hour meeting to hear about how disappointed you all are in us.

    Administration, you still have a chance to put out this fire and salvage whatever relationship you had with your nurses. Its your call, we leave it to you to end it. We will fight for our rights and we will fight hard. We will not go down easily or be intimidated. This is our union, our voice, and our rights. Nurses local 933, onward to victory!!!


  3. Mary November 23, 2010 at 5:26 am #

    Amen to John!

  4. nightingale2010 November 24, 2010 at 7:16 am #

    Why is it that anyone who tries to give the nurses the facts about what we have been going through in MN is part of administration? You don’t have to take our word for it..look on the NNU website and read their “Forces of Magnetism” article and see what they think about Magnet and working with management. The affiliation with the NNU is an aggressive union and if you do your homework you will see they are pushing strikes across the country. If you have had a good working relationship with management you won’t continue…look at the post above from John….it is already apparent that the union is putting that wedge between you and management.
    As far as the comment about not letting you back into the union in a year….management cannot prevent you from joining a union so I am sure that comment never even happened.
    Have you thought that perhaps management has done their homework which is why they don’t want you to become part of MNA/NNU? If we would have had a choice in joining NNU and had some information things might be different for us now. Why should MNA/NNU be afraid for you to go to informational meetings? In MN when we tried to ask questions at the union meetings we just got booed out of the meetings. You are leaving a professional organization and joining a big labor union that is out for power. If you are a strong group form your own union and try it for a year…you don’t need a labor union to tell you what is best for you and your patients.

    • Mary November 25, 2010 at 12:59 am #

      Most of the nurses at Jennie Edmundson are VERY happy that the NLRB has chosen to allow us to vote to have MNA represent our bargaining unit. A bargaining unit is the same thing as a labor union. We have been a union hospital for 44 years! We simply want to keep it that way. We don’t have a problem with our management prior to this current issue, in fact, we have had an excellent working relationship with the current management. Joining MNA will not change that. The people who will be negotiating with management at contract time will be the same people that have always negotiated with management in the past. Yes, MNA is a labor union…yes, MNA is a stronger union than INA, and yes, many members of NNU have VOTED to strike at their hospitals. That said, what other nurses at other hospitals have chosen as an option is not necessarily what the nurses at JEMH would choose. We have, in the recent past, had two strike votes. We were not affiliated with MNA when we voted to strike, and did not actually need to go on strike when things came down the pike, but MNA isn’t going to change the nurses. Everyone seems to think that being part of MNA is going to change who we are and what we think. That simply is not true! I am offended by people telling me that what I am choosing is bad for me. I am an adult, and perfectly capable of making my own decisions. If I make a decision that turns out to be not what I thought it was going to be, it is on me, NOT you. It is MY choice, and I have to live with it. My union and officers at JEMH have been there for me and my co-workers in the past, and I intend to keep them there for the future.

    • Tom December 1, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

      Yes, and thank you!!!!!

  5. Eric November 27, 2010 at 11:34 am #

    No forces anyone to strike. Strikes are voted for in a democratic way. MNA requires- if remeber correctly- 66% yes vote to authorize a strike. And, of course a strike can be averted with real negotiations were communication is respected and fluid. Not unilateral like it was this last summer were the employer was satisfied to negotiate with themselves and not with the nurses. This tactic was used by Management because they did not want to here the voices of the nurses. They just wanted the ability to force their demands on nurses without discussion. They wanted to expand the bottomline at our expense. Going on strike is our abilty to nuke process and get the employer back to the table to here us. In the Twin City Metro negotiations this summer it took the impending open ended strike to finally get management to back down from their goal to utterly destroy our contract, our profession, and our union. Any organism will do what it takes to protect it self. Going on strike is one of the tools in our armamnet to help ensure our survivability. No one really likes going on strike but if we have to then we should do so.

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