We finally were able to meet via a Zoom call with CHI Executive Leadership and Managers yesterday, Thursday, Nov. 5.Twelve RNs and Local Unit Officers fearlessly stepped up to voice their concerns and demands for patient safety, worker’s rights and needs. We focused on five areas of top concerns related to:
- Outbreak Notification/Testing/Retesting
- Benefits/Low Census/Resources/Communication
- Containment/PPE/Infection Prevention and Control
- New Mandatory COVID Testing
Nurses spoke about the lack of notification of exposure and the delay in tests results. We relayed concerns about the time period between both patients’ and nurses’ testing and continuing to work while experiencing long waits for test results, further increasing risk of exposure. Management told us that they had heard our concerns already and have made improvements in the processes to do a better job with this. Let us know if notification on test results take longer than three days.
As for Mandatory COVID testing, nurses spoke about their concerns regarding the implications of said testing on the already strained staffing throughout the hospital. The letter that WSNA received today regarding our cease and desist and demand to bargain letter sent on November 4, answers many of the questions the nurses and management discussed. You can see the responses here. Additionally, we are currently protected by our original COVID MOU that provides a nurse or healthcare worker who self-quarantines based on concern of social exposure to COVID-19 shall have access to extended illness bank on day 1 until the employee is able to return to work.
We did fight hard for paid leave for low census, telling stories about the undue hardship that this has caused for nurses working on the 7th floor who have been essentially quarantined to their own unit, not allowed to float and therefore cut. Several spoke up about how their co-workers are suffering, making passionate pleas to leadership to provide administrative pay for time loss.
Currently, CHI maintains their position: NO paid leave for low census. They did tell us that staff who have received a 20% reduction in hours will have their benefits paid for. They added, “we want to remind you that there is a grant for hardship called the Sisters Foundation for which you can submit a bill up to $1500.” They said that they would do a better job about letting nurses know about the grant; https://care.commonspirit.org/rs/938-HDH-552/images/EAF%20Application%20October%202020.pdf. We advise you pay attention to the stipulations for qualifications of this grant. WSNA continued to assert and insist the CHI pay for this unfortunate need the nurses are facing with the mandatory low census in this unit.
The meeting went well past our scheduled timeframe allotted and yet, still did not cover all the questions and concerns the nurses have. We have been working together to formulate a hospital COVID plan that will result in positive results, if management and leadership listens to us and heeds the ideas and proposals we have. The leadership team invited us to send them our plan and committed to consider ways that we could collaborate on strategies to include us, as frontline workers, who are experiencing the realities of this crisis and have the knowledge and expertise that is needed at this time.
WSNA Local Unit Leaders and RN staff nurses