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
  • Staffing
  • 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.

In Solidarity,

WSNA Local Unit Leaders and RN staff nurses