Rochester Union of Nurses and Allied Professionals2022-07-10T23:56:57+00:00

WE ARE UNIONIZING BECAUSE IT’S TIME TO UNITE

It’s time for the nurses of Rochester General to come together as one and advocate for ourselves. It has been made clear that decisions are not being made in our best interests, and it’s time for that to change. Our mission is to provide care in a way that is safe to patients and nurses both. We cannot continue to meet the bare minimum of patient care because of lack of resources and staff. We deserve to feel safe, compensated, and fulfilled in our profession. We all want the same thing, and there is strength in numbers. Nurses from all across the hospital are voting YES to unionize. It is long overdue that we as nurses have a voice and a place at the table when it comes to making decisions that directly affect our work. The hospital cannot run without us, and we should be treated as such. Who better to represent us than ourselves?

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AND VOTE
YES TO UNIONIZE!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHY ARE WE FORMING A UNION?2022-03-04T12:55:28+00:00

We are forming our union because there is power in numbers and organization! Our collective goal is to restore our hospital to a safe place for patients and staff!  Being unionized will put us on equal footing with hospital management when it comes to our working conditions. We want to attract permanent staff nurses to come to our hospital and we want them to stay. We want all nurses to feel supported by having proper equipment, safe staffing levels, affordable health insurance, competitive pay, and a true voice in our workplace.

WHO WILL NEGOTIATE OUR CONTRACT?2022-03-04T12:57:56+00:00

The contract will be negotiated by us, the nurses. We know our hospital, our units, our patients, and we know best what basic rules should be put into writing so that RGH administration can’t change them any time they want to. We will elect a bargaining committee to represent all nurses at the hospital. It will have nurses from all units, all shifts, to ensure that all nurses–full time, part time, pool–are represented fairly at the negotiating table.  NENA staff who have experience with the negotiating process will help us, but we will be negotiating our contract. All nurses will be invited to attend negotiating sessions. The contract becomes final once it is ratified through a vote of the nurses at our hospital.

ARE PER DIEM NURSES GOING TO VOTE? HOW WILL THIS AFFECT US?2022-03-04T23:13:59+00:00

Yes. The federal standard is that anyone who works an average of 4 hours per week in  a 13 week period will be eligible to vote. So if you work 1.5 12 hour shifts per month, you are an eligible voter. Per diem nurses are crucial to staffing the hospital and will be represented on the bargaining committee. Just like for any other nurses, if there are things that are working now for per diem nurses, we can work to put them in writing in the contract so RGH can’t change the rules whenever they want. If there are things that can be improved, we will work–together–to negotiate those changes.

HOW WILL THIS AFFECT MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY MANAGER?2022-03-04T12:59:59+00:00

What will change is that we, the nurses, will negotiate fair, common sense ground rules: a fair discipline procedure so they can’t just fire people for no reason, staffing rules that will improve patient safety, rules on scheduling that are fair for everyone. Often times this improves employees’ relationships with their managers because the rules are clear. Under intense pressure from CEOs focused on the bottom line, managers are often incentivized to cut staffing and eliminate senior career nurses. Fair contract language can alleviate those pressures so that nurses and managers can focus on patients. Union nurses talk to their managers all the time. The idea that we somehow will have to go through some mysterious “3rd party” to talk to our managers about every little thing is nothing more than a scare tactic by union busters who are here to intimidate us from exercising our rights as American workers.

HOW DO DUES WORK?2022-03-19T01:15:13+00:00

Dues are how we as nurses will fund our own organization so that we can effectively be a voice for our patients, our community hospitals, and one another. Our bylaws are currently being drafted by members of the organizing committee. Our dues will be 1.25% of base pay of hours worked. No nurses at RGH will pay dues until after the contract is negotiated and voted on by all of the nurses. For our 1st contract, we aim to negotiate a wage scale based on years of licensure, which will lead to pay rates that will help us attract and retain great nurses. All nurses will vote on the final contract. Do you think that any nurse will vote to give themselves less money?

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY SCHEDULE? WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO CHANGE MY SCHEDULE THE WAY I DO NOW?2022-03-04T23:12:15+00:00

Once we vote to form our union, nothing changes automatically except for administration’s ability to make changes to our working conditions without negotiating with us. That means our union will protect practices we like from being changed by management unilaterally. We will also have an opportunity to negotiate fair rules for scheduling in units that wants to make improvements.  When it comes to flexibility, we know it is important to all nurses, so why would we work to negotiate new rules that we don’t like? Union nurses switch their schedules all the time. If there is something we want to change about our schedule, we will make that proposal. If there are current practices we want to protect by putting in a contract, we will do that also.

WHAT ABOUT STRIKES?2022-03-04T13:02:53+00:00

Only the nurses at our hospital can decide to go on strike. 98% of contracts are settled without a strike. They are a last resort. When nurses do decide to exercise their right, as American workers, to strike, they do so democratically–by voting on it. It is not a decision that is made rashly. Strikes are only effective if everyone participates, so they are discussed and planned meticulously, far in advance. Nurses usually set a high bar for approval for a strike vote: 90% or higher. When nurses do vote to go on strike they send a 10-day notice to the hospital so that the hospital can arrange for (expensive) replacement nurses who look after the patients to the best of their ability. Most strikes are only for one or two days, but because the replacement nurses have 5-day contracts, the nurses are “locked out” by management for the remaining days. By law, nurses cannot be permanently replaced for going on strike if the hospital has committed an unfair labor practice; union nurses are careful to only call for a strike when a hospital has done so. In 2019, 13,000 nurses in NYC won significant improvements in staffing, including a $100 million fund to hire more nurses, simply by the threat of a strike.

WHAT CAN THE UNION DO ABOUT STAFFING?2022-03-04T13:04:08+00:00

There are many  provisions that other union nurses have won in their contracts that improve staffing that we can fight for, from enforceable minimum staffing levels on all units, including the Emergency Department and procedural areas, to contractually guaranteed committees that lock in nurse input into staffing decisions. The key question is whether you think that RGH, who has cut staffing, supplies, and imposed conditions that have led to high turnover all over our hospital since they took over, will improve staffing all by themselves. Having a union will not fix all of our staffing problems, but we’ve seen from the experience of union nurses all over the state and country that when nurses have a real voice, we can fight for improvements to staffing rules that will protect our patients and our licenses.

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ABOUT NENA

The Northeast Nurses Association (NENA) is an alliance of unionized nurses throughout the region. Encompassing the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) and United Nurses and Allied Professionals (UNAP), nearly 40,000 nurses and healthcare professionals have come together to improve the lives of their patients and restore dignity to their profession.

Since 2015, our staff has helped nearly 5,000 nurses and other healthcare professionals join together to form a union at their facility. We believe that when the people who actually do the work and provide the care gain a stronger voice, standards rise for everyone.

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