Nurses and staff need to be taken care of
I have been attending the contract negotiations between the hospital and the 1199 union. This union represents several areas of the hospital: LPNs, CNAs, Kitchen, Housekeeping, Engineering, Respiratory Therapy, Laboratory, Radiology, Ward Clerks, and Central Sterilization. Our contract ended in July. In all that time, the hospital has denied all of our proposals.
First, there are more than 40 job openings in all positions and have been for a long time. There is a problem with recruitment and retention of staff. All departments are affected by this shortage. Some of these openings have been filled by agency staff who are paid more than double what our staff makes, and only stay here for a limited time. There are currently six of these agency staff in the respiratory department and some in the laboratory as well.
We are a small community hospital, and we practice their motto “I care” every day. The patients are not just a number to us, but a familiar face that we care about, and they rely on us. But our poor staff is tired, because they have too many double shifts. In the nursing home, CNA’s have left, to come back as the agency staff for better wages and hours .
We have asked to raise the wages of the lowest paying jobs, so they are not making minimum wage. We have asked for a weekend differential to recruit staff to work weekends. All other hospitals pay this. We have asked for an increase in contribution to our health insurance and pension, so that the staff can afford to stay. One of the reasons to work at NLH has always been the excellent pension and insurance from the union. And we have asked for a raise in pay to compensate for cost of living increases. All denied.
My issue is that according to Mr. Kelly, the hospital is $90 million in the black and has been for 16 years. Is this money only to be shared amongst the CEO, VPs and management? None of them live here or care about this community. Why is it wasted on a lawyer who is using stall tactics to increase his fees. The hospital is falling apart and we need your help and support. Please contact board members or the CEO if you agree with me.
Retired CT techologist