Moses Cone can be a great place to work. We offer excellent care to a diverse community in a pleasant environment. The people we work with are caring, hard working and interested in providing the best patient care possible. We have excellent, well-maintained facilities and provide the latest in patient treatments.
In the last few years, there have been many changes at MCHS. Most improve patient care, some address problems and others just seem to make it more difficult or less pleasant to do our jobs. Everyone is familiar with the uniform and floating issues. A good deal of time has been expended on these issues with final result being that we were told how it was going to be with little regard for our concerns. More recently, we have been presented with a change in Family Medical Leave that requires us to use up all of our leave time before we can use leave without pay. Also it restricts when we can use vacation time after we have been on FLMA.
The latest change to be presented to us will be the new bonus program. The old bonus program was bad enough. We usually received less than half of the gross amount awarded. We have not heard the details of the new program but the general feeling is that we will receive less than we did under the old program.
Let us not forget about patient care. How many times have you been required to float to a unit that is completely outside of your area of knowledge? Or perhaps your unit is under staffed and you are required to take a heavier patient care assignment. Your ability to provide adequate, safe patient care is compromised, not to mention the risk to your nursing license.
We are told that we have a voice in decision making through the Shared Governance Committee. Little of what we offer ever seems to make it out of the room, much less get implemented. A lot of time and money is spent on this committee that could be better used elsewhere. It seems like it is time that we did something about this situation.
The only way that we can effect change at MCHS is through a single voice. We need to consider forming a union of nurses, run by nurses, to improve patient care standards and our working environment. There have been unions formed in California (http://www.calnurses.org/
), New York (http://www.nysna.org/
), and Illinois (represented by CNA). They set work standards, patient care standards and benefit levels. They also are politically active and been instrumental in changing state laws regarding health care issues.
Many nurses are concerned about starting a union. They don’t want to go out on strike, are concerned they will lose their jobs, think that they will have to pay high union dues or be disciplined at work for even talking about a union.
Under the National Labor Relations Act (http://www.union-organizing.com/rights.html
), we have the right to talk about, meet and form a union if we so desire. Management cannot legally ask us anything about a union, our membership, or level of interest. We can post signs, wear union buttons, and talk about the union at work when we would normally be allowed to talk about non-work related topics.