Have you ever needed to ask someone for something but you felt intimidated? I remember in first grade feeling terrified when I had to ask the teacher if I could use the bathroom. A lot of kids used that excuse to get out of the room during an intense session of the alphabet but I honestly liked school and I would never abuse my privilege to leave the room. Yet in those first few months I agonized whenever I had to raise my hand and ask permission to go.
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To all you RNs, LVNs and Psych-Techs of Ventura County HCA,
Well, on Jan. 5 th we finally did it. After 15 long months of bargaining with the County we have a contract. Over 80% voted yes to ratify the remainder of our agreements left on the table after our defeat in having to pick up an added 3% of our retirement contributions. Between our fight for trauma designation, a healthcare reform package that doesn’t include a public option and an economy edging out of critical condition we have done well to manage the damage and accept a three year contract that guarantees no more take-aways.
In hind-sight it is easy to look and say our negotiations team could have done this or should have done that. But, at the time we did the best we could to bargain with integrity that we could be trusted to serve the greatest good for all. In other words, there were compromises that had to be made to appease different concerns within our bargaining unit.
We have our Hospital Nurses burdened with the growing population of uninsured along with an increase of admissions, surgeries and chaos from the incoming traumas, and private insurance. We have Public Health and Clinic Nurses suiting up as our first responders dealing with community epidemics and the under-served. And, we have our Mental Health Nurses and Psyche-Techs ducking punches while doing their jobs to help the mentally ill and their families. All this adds up to a multitude of opportunities to come up with creative solutions to treat the suffering, a difficult job that takes more than a carefully worded document to build teamwork that lightens our load and lifts our spirits.
Abe Lincoln was right: “You can please some of the people some of the time…but you cannot please all of the people all of the time. “
All in all, our work has crafted our new Memorandum of Agreement that will be enacted by January 25, 2011. It will be our contract that we designed together to give us more protections to do our jobs ensuring healthcare justice, and patient advocacy with professional treatment of our members. Now it is time to brush ourselves off and work towards these goals in hopes for better working conditions and job satisfaction.
Your Trusted Nurse,
Rita Batchley RN
Chief Nurse Rep, Ventura County CNA