Reflections

What are your thoughts post contract negotiation and ratification?

Tom pointed out this excellent article in today’s Strib as a follow up to  claims made by MNA during negotiations.

Improving life for nurses – and patients

Interesting that MNA declined to comment on the project.  Could it be because it would undermine their claims that staffing ratios is the answer?

UPDATE 7/13: Follow up to the article in the Strib yesterday.  AONE (American Organization of Nurse Executives) on Transforming Care at the Bedside intiative (TCAB).

Announcing the new AONE TCAB initiative

TCAB Brochure

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17 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Linda R Larson on July 12, 2010 at 9:03 am

    I find myself still a week later with such a mixture of emotions. I am very happy that the strike did not happen. That has saved a tremendous amount of pain for patients and staff. I give this site and all of you wonderful nurses supporting this mission 100% credit for changing the course of the MNA/NNU movement. Thank you all. Thank you Dee and Penny for stepping out to make this happen.
    I am also still very angry at what MNA has done and allowed to happen to its members, hospitals, patients, families and all non MNA workers. That has been damaging beyond belief and I hope MNA takes full resonsibility for setting that tone and creating that disrespectful abusive atmosphere. They could have decided to stand up to its members and let them know that disrespectful behaviors are not tolerated and will not be allowed. Instead they sent their MNA reps on missions to disrupt care and created a very fearful and negative campaign to further their cause. They gave their members the message to stop going to any councils, don’t listen to your hospital leaders (who by the way are the employers), boycott the nurse celebration at ANW, get the list of RN’s who crossed on June 10th, etc. That leadership is poison. The comments made to anyone with a differing opinion were abusive. The abusive comments were made with absolutely no accountabilty under the name of MNA RN. So much pain, so many damaged relationships all to state a cause of patient safety. The approach and the stated cause are so far apart and opposing that I don’t think a bridge could be built big enough to connect the two.
    So enough about my anger at what has happened. Now I want to be a part of the future with all of you who truly do care for patients and who get the reality of healthcare cost. I want to see all the people on this site together in one place and just feel the energy and enthusiasm of positive action, respect and dignity for the profession of nursing. Stay tuned for more planning on that. Please share any ideas on what this gathering would look like and how we can make it happen.

    Reply

    • Linda, we have many things in which need changing…so where to begin? MNA leadership needs to be changed..so looking into when people are voted in and how….from the MNA reps on up to the President. We also need to stand up and let them know we want to get back to the interest based bargaining with a win-win approach to bargaining….and this blog is a good place to start that but we may also want to think about our negotiators and how we can change how this is approached and perhaps make a change to those who are in that position. Also, we have all seen changes in the last couple years…coincidence that during this time we also became part of the NNU? I think not. We need to get back to being a professional organization.

      Reply

  2. Posted by WildBlue on July 12, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Just posted this on the latest Strib article. Thought I’d try here too.

    “Here’s what I’m wondering. In the aftermath of this dispute, what are the 2-3 most important things that need to happen to make these hospitals great places to work and great places to be a patient? Looking for ideas that are useful and realistic.”

    Reply

    • Posted by ilovemyjob on July 12, 2010 at 10:46 pm

      I don’t think there is a nurse alive who wouldn’t agree that safe staffing IS extremely important. Mandated ratios are just not the right solution. We need to be flexible and find ways to make it happen. After all that has gone on with this strike, I would LOVE to see the hospitals take the high road in this matter and truly find ways to take this “MNA bargaining chip” off the table for good. I for one, think part of the solution is in the development of a LARGE and solid float team. Float teams in the past have struggled because nurses tend to leave the pool once a permanent “home” opens up on one of their favorite units. The hospital spends a ton of money orienting nurses to many different units, only to see them give it up within the first year or so. I believe turnover is often very high.

      I say hire the float pool nurses…and give them incentives to stay. It’s a difficult job and they should be rewarded for their extra training and flexibility. Give those nurses a good pay differential (maybe $2.00 per hour) and give them a reason to stay on board. Senior nurses get a longevity bonus in July. I think float nurses who commit to the pool each year should also get a similar bonus. The pool would grow with experienced, long term staff. Once that happened, I’d like to see the hospitals always have a goal of keeping several of those float nurses free of an actual assignment (on every shift) and use them as “flyers”. That way there would always be an extra hand to go wherever the need happens to be on each given shift. Yes…this might cost the hospitals extra money up front…but in the long run, everyone would win. We’d be better prepared for the unexpected and patients would receive quality care from nurses who are oriented to their unit.

      Nurses want to believe that their employers respect their work. Many nurses went to bat for the hospitals over this labor dispute. It would be nice to see TCH actually implement a safe staffing plan of their own…rather than just agree to talk about it on committees indefinately.

      Reply

  3. Posted by Nancy on July 12, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Interesting that on the FB page there is a new post from MNA stating they “missed their chance to comment” and asking nurses what they think of the StarTrib article. Comments are mixed but those who are supportive of LEAN concepts tend to take some heat. I can’t help but wonder if it would have been completely swept under the rug if not for the mention on this blog. Another example of how you are keeping the dialog open and more than one-sided thru your efforts here… Congratulations!

    Reply

    • Posted by Dee on July 13, 2010 at 6:27 am

      “missed their chance”? I have to chuckle at that. They never “missed their chance” to comment to the media before.

      Reply

  4. Posted by Mary Sayler on July 12, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    I would like to echo what Linda stated in the first posting. I too am very glad the strike did not happen. In fact a new admit to our unit today was a 90 yp gentleman and as we were transferring him into bed he stated “I sure am glad you are all here to take care of me and aren’t out on strike.” We need to be here for our patients and the grass roots movement of this blog and its creators and all of those participating has made this possible.

    I have resigned from MNA because I can not be associated with such an organization that uses intimidation and fear to sway members to their way of thinking. During this disruption of the past several months many on our unit made a conscious decision to not let it poison our relationships and to respect one another for our varying opinions. This has helped to not have such a devastating effect on our work environment but there are still noticeable effects. We will work through these and move on. I have a dilemma about whether or not to stay resigned. I want to be a part of this positive change I see possible for our profession. It is vitally important. What happened over the last few months was unprofessional and embarrassing, and it has damaged the professional image of nursing. This blog is evidence that there are great leaders in our profession waiting to be unleashed to bring our profession back to where we were and to raise us up to greater standards.

    Reply

    • Posted by Dee on July 13, 2010 at 6:26 am

      I too think this has damaged our profession that’s why it matters to me even though I am a non-contract nurse. MNA represents all of nursing because they are more than just a bargaining unit for some nurses. I have always respected MNA and have known many people over the years who work there. I do not like the direction that I see them taking and that is why I will remain involved with this blog and other nurses who want to change their direction.

      Reply

    • Mary, I have had positive comments even after the editorial from co-workers who were just so glad we did not strike.

      Reply

  5. I have been watching this journey for the past several months, and reading this blog since you started it. As a parent of a child with complex health needs, I want to thank you for standing up for patients, and for making an impact in the negotiation process. Nurses are very important to my family, we know how much you make things run smoothly at hospitals and clinics, and the thought of you being on strike, was very unsettling as a parent. Thank you all for your hard work.

    Reply

    • Posted by Dee on July 13, 2010 at 6:21 am

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and for reading the blog. The nurses that decided that they would cross the picket line came to their decision after much anguished deliberation and in the end put their patients, like your child, in the forefront of their minds. They believed there was a better way to solve a contract dispute than to participate in an open ended strike. And they realize that there is still work to be done so that it doesn’t get to this point again in the future.

      I hope your child is doing well.

      Reply

  6. Posted by iresigned on July 14, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Penny and Dee,

    I am ” non contract” now as I resigned on Friday after the one day strike. All had to do was hear the accounts of Thursday and diversions to know that was the right thing to do.

    I have been reading the follow up this week from everyone on the blog.
    Penny, it sounds like you have been taking the lion’s share of the research/learning curve we all need to understanding exactly what and how it all happened.

    Do we need to get this project up and running with responsibilities and assigning tasks?
    How do we want to follow up?

    I am very interested in how many nurses/percentage of nurses decided to continue working inrelation to the membership. How many nurses can dedicate some time to this effort?

    Somehow this has not been discussed concretely.

    Should we do a sounding , like looking for fish? in Lake Superior?

    Better that some interested nurses in each institution try to get the answers to how many nurses were going to cross and work.
    This does matter, as at some pointe we need to address the MNA.
    The organization should be accountable to it’s members.
    Right now , it appears that the fact that the MNA decided to not strike, was because they were over reaching their position. In the end ,the nurses themselves, let the hospitals know, the MNA had it wrong.
    Let’s find out what everyone is willing to do , to get this problem worked out.
    Oh and by the way, the MNA would like nothing better then to see this blog ” shut down”. Pretty transparent, I admit. Just had to make my remarks about it.

    Reply

    • iresigned, we are working on getting everyone together…you are right this is too big for just a few to handle…but we are a group of many. This blog will not be shut down….we will be working towards change.

      Reply

  7. Posted by Not A Union Fan RN on July 14, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Hi, I’m curious as to how everyone that resigned, crossed or voiced any opposition to MNA is being treated since everything is over for now? Any stories of harassment? Conflicts? Being ignored or talked to rudely? Anyone being given harder patient loads or such by charges as retaliation?

    Reply

    • I have actually been surprised at how normal it is at work. Even alot of nurses who were ready to strike are very glad we are not so it is alot of relief for many. I have not had any difference in pt assignments or harassment….except for a few anonymous comments.

      Reply

    • Posted by Mary Sayler on July 15, 2010 at 7:28 am

      Things are pretty much back to normal on our unit. I would say about everyone was relieved we did not strike. The union chairs have been very silent and in the background. We got one mass email from one of them acknowledging that “some of you are a little upset” about the recommendation of ratifying the proposal, reassuring us that the fight for safe staffing will go on and reminding us that it is good to have our original contract intact and that “we DO have good safe staffing language in our current contract” (which really makes me confused as to what the big fight was and is about).
      Interesting to note that I was FB friends with one of the MNA chairs at our hospital and she dropped me as a friend. No other repercussions.

      Reply

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