In a recent article, officials of the Ventura County Healthcare Agency stated point blank that across the board pay raises will be out of the question for all County employees, while merit increases will remain in place.
In their last contract, Nurses and Psych-techs took pay cuts that went beyond a shared sacrifice. Meanwhile, other bargaining units continued to pay less towards their retirement, and got pay raises in spite of the County’s cries of dire poverty.
In short, caregivers are being told that they should expect a bumpy road in their upcoming negotiations.
As California Nurses Association (CNA) member’s current contract nears expiration, the already squeezed, RNs, LVNs and Psych-Techs of Ventura County are now backed into a corner where they will be floundering behind area hospitals in their lack of MAGNET principles in Nursing leadership.
Unless they can’t convince the Board of Supervisors that career steps and ladders need to be implemented for its caregivers ASAP, the Ventura County public sector care facilities will continue to lose ground to CMH and SJRMC as they support and encourage their nurses to transform into leaders that meet the needs of healthcare’s future.
Career Steps and Ladders
For years, the CNA bargaining unit has negotiated, without success, for merit raises that would recognize and reward RNs, LVNs and Psych-Techs for their efforts to improve workflow and services in the demanding arena of medicine. Instituting Career Steps and Ladders is a way to allow an competitive playing field for caregivers to earn increases, for loyalty and mastery, in their fields of service. This process has been long overdue as currently Ventura County healthcare workers are maxed out in their promotional ability after one year of service, and have little guidelines to grow into leadership positions. A career ladder would promote MAGNET – type criteria for the caregivers to aspire to.
The last contract (which expires Dec.2012) gives the CNA bargaining unit the power to meet with administration:
Pg. 11, Sec. 523 Recruitment and Retention Committee: A Joint Labor Management Committee (JLMC) may be convened by either party, but no more than once per quarter, to investigate recruitment and retention issues pertaining to nursing classifications represented by CNA. The JLMC shall consist of two members from the bargaining unit appointed by CNA, one CNA staff member, two members from the Health Care Agency, and one member from the County Executive Office. Findings shall be reported to the County Executive Office for final recommendation.
For over a year the bargaining team which includes: Rita Batchley, L&D; Greg Thayer, ICU; Lorraine Sandoval, ER; Carrie Holt, S.Paula ED; Brenda Gray, PH; Carol Ann Kitzak, IPU; and Tina Greiger, CNA Rep have been working on language that would group represented workers into entry level, intermediate and advanced levels of service. The team is hopeful that the Ventura County Board of Supervisors will implement these proposals in order to ensure caregivers merit raises. But, in order to press the importance of passing merit raises the bargaining unit needs your help.
5 Ways to Increase Your Power, Pay and Pride
- Get involved. Start talking to your co-workers, family and friends on how to keep our public sector healthcare ageny alive and kicking. It is simple: Happy caregivers that are recognized for their loyalty and expertise give good care. Good care = good publicity, good publicity = demand for funded, public sector insurance policies that provide affordable, quality care.
- Go to your monthly union meetings General Membership: VCMC Cafeteria, Second Tuesday of the month from 9-11 am, Public Health: Gonzales Road, Second Tuesday of the month 12-1 pm. Of course you can reach The Nurses Nurse in private by messaging her on her Face Book page. Friend The Nurses Nurse. And, finally call or write Tina Grieger at, (818)588-5713 or TGrieger@CalNurses.org.
- Share this link and sign-up to follow TheNursesNurse.wordpress.com so you will automatically receive updates on the campaign to promote affordable, quality healthcare in Ventura County.
- Leave comments on this blog site. Write to newspaper open editorial sections.
- Keep communications open: Fill out Assignment Despite Objection (ADO) forms, when you are short staffed, when charge nurses are out of ratio, when you are forced to work where you don’t hold current competencies to care for a patient’s needs, or when you miss duty-free breaks and meals. The only way to convince the Board of Supervisors that we have a problem with recruitment and retention is by giving them evidence.