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Union sinks to deceit in ploy for more taxpayer money

sb_cologo-full_colorThe California Nurses Association, the union that represents County nurses, is attempting to deceive the public in its effort to justify a planned two-day abandonment of patients and its demands for tens of millions of additional taxpayer dollars.

Negotiations between taxpayer representatives and the union have dragged on for more than a year because of the union’s insistence on receiving millions more in salaries and benefits than any of their peers and the union’s refusal to agree to the same reasonable terms already accepted by thousands of other County employees.

Publicly, the union claims its concerns center on patient care and working conditions for its members. However, at the bargaining table, the only thing the union talks about and really wants is more of the public’s tax dollars.

Despite the union’s claim that its primary mission is patient safety, the California Nurses Association is urging its members to walk off the job and leave patients in the lurch for two days on December 9 and 10 as a way to pressure taxpayers into giving the union millions in additional public dollars.

The walkout could cost taxpayers millions of dollars if the County is forced to hire temporary nurses to ensure patients receive the care they need. That’s why the County will seek injunctive relief to protect County patients and taxpayers from the union’s planned job action.

In making its case for relief, the County stated that trauma center nurses are necessary and should be exempted from the planned walkout. The County’s Arrowhead Regional Medical Center operates the state’s second-busiest trauma center and is the hospital of last resort for thousands of needy families. The California Nurses Association stated specifically that trauma center nurses are unnecessary.

Regardless of the outcome, the County is committed to ensuring that patient care would not be affected by a union walkout. The County has multiple strategies to ensure its healthcare mission would not be affected.

In its attempt to justify its unreasonable demands and its walkout plans, the California Nurses Association is making outrageous and false claims:

– County nurses are inexperienced – False. The average RN II at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center has more than 9 years of service. Corrections and Public Health nurses have even more experience, an average of about 12 years of service.

– County nurses are underpaid – False. Based on data provided by the Hospital Association of Southern California, RN’s at ARMC are slightly above the median salary of 21 Inland Empire hospitals surveyed, but the County provides far greater benefits than most of these other hospitals.

In fact, the County’s pension contribution for each nurse is approximately $12 per hour for a benefit that most other area hospitals do not even provide. The County’s proposal would result in the salaries of the average nurses at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Department of Public Health, and in corrections being even higher than their peers in other Southern California counties.

A nurse who works 30 years with the County, retires at age 55, and lives to age 80 can expect to receive $1.86 million in retirement income from the County.

– The County is having trouble recruiting nurses – False.  Since July 1, the County has received 983 applications for nursing positions at ARMC.

– There is a high turnover rate among County nurses – False. According to the Hospital Association of Southern California, for 2013, the average turnover rate for nurses statewide has been 8.9 percent. The Southern California rate has been 9.5 percent. The turnover rate at ARMC has been only approximately 5.75 percent.

Ask the California Nurses Association for the data to back up its claims and to cite its sources.

14 Responses to Union sinks to deceit in ploy for more taxpayer money

  • I’m sorry, but this article is biased and poorly researched. It is not difficult to find out that ARMC is actually one of the lowest paying hospitals for nurses in surrounding counties and that our turnover rate is also one of the highest. Coming from a spokesperson who is paid by our tax dollars it is sad to see such a one sided argument with no regard to public employees who deserve so much more. I have witnessed first hand over 6 years how many nurses in my department alone leave after just one year. No one is trying to force us to stay at the county but then again, you aren’t doing much to keep us there either are you? $27.94/hour for Registered Nurse I versus $34+/hr at many neighboring hospitals. You do the math.

    • You need to keep in mind that County nurses earn an additional $12 an hour in pension benefits that private-sector hospitals do not provide, which would bring $27.94 to $39.94 – almost $6 an hour more than those neighboring hospitals. An ARMC nurse retiring after a full county career would earn close to $2 million in retirement income. The news media asked picketing nurses today if the grass is so greener at other hospitals, why don’t they go there? The nurses answered that they didn’t want to give up their pensions.

      As for comparative pay and turnover rates, the county’s source is the Hospital Association of Southern California. The union consistently refuses to cite the sources for its claims.

  • Did anyone else notice that there aren’t any quote marks on their remark claiming that CNA said such a thing???

    • All of the information attributed to CNA can be found in court records or in statements published in the news media.

      • My favorite of this article is the statement that the county has multiple strategies in place to ensure the healthcare mission would not be affected. So which part exactly of rushing to move patients out of ARMC and pressuring the doctors to transfer these patients to other facilities where those docs and staff don’t know them is ensuring the healthcare mission at ARMC. Oh yeah that move of half the patients in the hospital on Sat and Sun was because there wasn’t actually a plan and the Board did not take the nurses seriously so they don’t have anywhere near enough nurses ready to come in. The nurses did appreciate the outpouring love and support of the patients and families as they were continuously saying that they supported the nurses and appreciated everything they did and hope they get everything they are asking for because they deserve it for how hard they work on a daily basis. Along with families and patients stating that they will support the nurses any and every way. Thank you Board for not being prepared like you said you were and allowing the patients and families and citizens of the San Bernardino County to rally behind the best group of nurses and remind each and every nurse why this fight is worth it. We are and always will fight for what’s right for our patients and what will allow us to give every one of them the absolute best care they deserve. By the way why don’t you let the public know how much money you have blown in two days transporting patients due to your lack of preparation and that the money spent to transport those patients will have to be paid for by the county and not insurance companies because there was no medical justification for the transfers just pure neglect by the board.

        • The County is taking every possible measure to ensure the effect of the union’s planned abandonment of patients is minimal. However, it has been challenging considering the union gave the county only seven business days of notice of its planned walkout (the county was notified on November 26), and that the union has been discouraging temporary nurses from coming in to care for the patients the union plans to abandon.

          • Clearly you are not a nurse and are ignorant as to what “patient abandonment” is. Patient abandonment occurs after a nurse has accepted responsibility for an assignment within the scheduled work shift. It may also occur if a nurse fails to give reasonable notice to an employer of the intent to terminate the employer-employee relationship or contract leading to serious impairment in the delivery of professional nursing care to patients. It is actually THE COUNTY who will be abandoning patients, since they have been given plenty of notice.

          • The union gave the County seven business days notice that nearly 1,000 nurses would abandon their patients on December 9 and 10.

          • The union gave the county 14 days notice when they are only required to give 10 days. The county not being prepared is because they never believed the nurses would follow through with what they have been saying for a year. The board had plenty of knowledge of a strike coming and could have stopped all of this a long time ago if they would out their employees and patient safety first. Now once again today the county was told they could not stop this strike and there is a plan to potentially spend $4 million dollars with an agency to bring in nurses last minute. Will the Board ever get it, this is real and it is happening unless you do what’s right and give nurses a fair contract which allow us to keep experienced nurses and keep our patients safe.

          • According to the Hospital Association of Southern California, County nurses are among the highest paid in the region, and ARMC has a lower nurse turnover rate than the region and state.

          • That’s really funny to hear that the ARMC nurses are among the highest paid in the area. If that was the case why has the ICU lost 36 nurses this year and the surgical intensive care unit be compromised of about 90% new grads with a year or less experience. Those numbers don’t even include the other 49 or more nurses that left in other specialty units this past year including the ER. Where is this so called low turn over rate. It is not normal for any hospital to lose nurses at that rate and it’s beyond ridiculous.

          • ICU has lost 16, not 36, nurses this year for reasons that include other employment. 14 nurses have left other specialty units during the past year, not 49. And only 27% of SICU nurses have less than one year experience, not 90%. According to the Hospital Association of Southern California, for 2013, the average turnover rate for nurses statewide has been 8.9 percent. The Southern California rate has been 9.5 percent. The turnover rate at ARMC has been only approximately 5.75 percent. The average RN II at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center has more than 9 years of service at ARMC. According to HASC, ARMC nurses are also among the most highly paid in Southern California, not taking into account generous pension benefits, which most nurses elsewhere don’t have.

  • What kind of remark is it to state trauma nurses are not needed on any level. Come on down and work with me and then make such a public remark

    Daniel Alexander RN trauma nurse

    • You should ask the California Nurses Association. They are the ones who stated trauma nurses are unnecessary. The County is arguing in court that trauma nurses are very necessary.

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