Comments for: Bangor nurses take contract issues to the street

Posted May 15, 2012, at 9:36 p.m.

BANGOR | Union nurses at Eastern Maine Medical Center and their supporters took to the streets Tuesday in an informational picket aimed at raising awareness about issues they say are barriers to a contract agreement. Roughly 60 people were on hand carrying signs as the four-hour picket got under …

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  • Anonymous

    Wow….what a surprise…..is this an annual event in Bangor?

    • Anonymous

      Give it a rest ….. we all want more money better conditions blah blah blah ….go back to school get a better job move out of state ….bottom line this is why we are all screwed……..to many special interest groups bitching ..to much focus on every one else … Live your own life leave mine alone ….I’m fine thank you….nurses don’t need to picket I’m sure you nurses make pretty good money cause in the end that’s what its about greed ….every American thinks they deserve more and more …it makes me sick I agree jtc dot 827

  • Anonymous

    These nurses make the hospital and organization look bad and they know that but they do not care. This is typical union extortion and a reason why so many of our great industrial companies have left the USA.  

    Pathetic really.

    • Anonymous

      Dude your part of problem also ….although I agree with you on this point …but you are part of the Maine rubber kneckers ….it’s a crew of people that can’t mind there own business and worrie about other people way to much ….I’ll make you guys t-shirts .. Proud to be a Maine rubber kneckah …

      • If you pay for healthcare then it is your business.

      • Guest

         * you’re

  • Anonymous

    I have ALWAYS been on the side of the nurses, but i am beginning to see the other side.  Recently a friend of mine had a car accident and was in EMMC for nearly a month.  She had two surgeries on her ankle which was broken in many places.  To my horror, when i found out about the accident it was three days after the fact as it had not been reported in any news forum.  When i visited this young lady, she still had rocks in her hair, was not helped to bathe, and had rocks in her skin.  A couple of her friends came in while i was visiting and took care of the cleanup of this patient.  I pray this was an abnormal situation from a poor group of nurses but i have heard other stories as well so i have to wonder.

    • EMMC wants to be like any Harvard based hospital They have amazing and lofty ideas. Basic and good humanist nursing care is more than likely not one of them. Hence the rocks in your friends hair. But be assured, the hospitals goals are that all patients will die a Harvard death: in perfect electrolyte balance.

    • Anonymous

      Just another case of the nurses having too many patients to care for, getting the medications out on time, documenting on everything, and chasing the Doctors around to get orders and making sure they are doing their jobs correctly.  Actual patient care- bed baths, back rubs, sitting and talking are things of the past.  Nurses depend greatly on their CNA’S, but unfortunatly they are overworked too…Staffing problems are always an issue, just no one listens to them unless it is on the news or in the paper!

  • Anonymous

    If its that bad, why do they only picket during contract negotiations and not all year?

    • Anonymous

      Obviously, to gain public emotional support for their cause and if their labor union pays them to man a picket line to make extra money.  After all, money is what it’s all about isn’t it?

      • Anonymous

        “Right now it comes down to safety and security in our emergency department and staffing concerns,”

  • Truthand Honestly

    Admittedly, all in all EMMC is a terrific place to work. I have worked there for several years. The pay is fair for the job that I perform, the paid time off is great, so are the 12 hour shifts. However, the healthcare benefits are terrible. I have to say I have had little interaction with the administration as my position doesn’t require it. The enormous challenges to manage the responsibilities of a hospital the size and prestige of EMMC are far beyond anything I could imagine or care to imagine. The ever changing tides of life and lack of reimbursements from Mainecare, Medicare, private insurance, and now the gun barrels of Obamacare must want some to take the plummet of the eighth floor. Hopefully not. But above and beyond the din of all that the world is throwing at us administration needs to come across the river from their lofty edifice, bend down their ear, and not only hear but listen to what the nurses are saying. And to what they have said for years now. You need to focus on those for whom your foundation is built upon, the staff of EMMC! I have seen the hardness of the politics played out in the units of our hospital. Nurses often DO NOT stop for 12 hours, many eat their lunch at the nurses station so they can respond to patient needs. I am not a nurse, nor a nurse tech but I have seen it when staffing is so short and department heads are unwilling to come in. They tell the charge nurse, “You’ll just have to figure something out.” Patients wait for hours in our ER because staffing is often short so beds are closed because of the lack of staffing. That goes for RN’s and Nurse Tech’s. Bare-bone staffing equals bare-bone care, bare-boned safety, and raw-nerved patients. What a grim picture, however, not one nurse fails to try. To wrap this up, we all have either at home, at business, or wherever have had to trim the fat. Just one CEO at EMMC is paid close, much closer than my pay, to a million dollars per year. Last year my family lived on less than $20,000 after taxes, no ma’am, no sir we are not on welfare. While the argument goes it’s much harder to find good administrative personnel, as they are not as disposable, the rest of us are told that we are. Harsh yes, truthfully yes. Follow the money from the top down, not the bottom up, and you’ll find the blessed resources we need to hire the appropriate staffing.

    • Anonymous

      “Follow the money from the top down, not the bottom up, and you’ll find the blessed resources we need to hire the appropriate staffing.”

      I work in a Maine hospital too (not EMMC)…you could definitely see this same mantra applied there too…

    • Anonymous

       Of course you are not on welfare…..a family of three wouldn’t get 20,000 a year….more like 5000 a year….as for “bare bones staffing”….state laws mandate a certain level of staffing…if they are consistently falling below this mandate they would be dealt with…as I said before in previous articles they are going after the wrong entity…..they need to get someone to change the laws if they are truly understaffed due to state rules…on the other hand, if they are always running short staff because of workmates that call in all the time they need to address that to their union and tell them to stop protecting these slackers….

      • Anonymous

        I’d like to read the state law that mandates a certain level of staffing in hospitals. Can you point me to it? I’ve searched Maine statutes but can’t find it. Thanks.

        • Anonymous

          I have no idea where you would find the statute that covers staffing…only know that they exist because years ago in one of my jobs I had to fill out the forms required by the state every 3 months that showed staffing for for the previous 3 months. The forms were filled in with info from employee time cards that had been payed from the previous 3 months….all could be checked by the state…through payroll records and time cards, also employee files…so you see there was no way to fudge it…

          • Anonymous

            You can’t find it because no such law exists for hospital nurses in Maine. In fact, OMNE Nursing Leaders of Maine — the organization for nurse management — has opposed bills mandating such ratios. The nurses’ union in California spearheaded the drive for legally mandated nurse-to-patient ratios that are now on the books in some states. 

          • Anonymous

            you are right…I did some research myself…..there are laws on the books regarding nursing homes and nursing staff but none for hospitals as far as I can tell. Guess someone has to get one of Maine’s politicians on their side…striking is not going to do that….as an aside asking for increases in wages while complaining about lack of staff gives me (and possibly the other side) the impression that you don’t mind working short staffed as long as you are payed for it…make up your minds about that and maybe something will be done about staffing…

          • Anonymous

            So they should decide to either be adequately compensated but understaffed or undercompensated but adequately staffed? That’s a great plan for ensuring turnover. Not a great strategy for maintaining a work force, especially when the cost of orienting a new hospital nurse costs in the range of 50k.

          • Anonymous

            no that was not what I was saying at all…but by asking for both right now they are going to focus on the pay raises as the real issue whether it is or not….it will be used to color the issue by the administration …I am saying pick your battles…what is most important right now…sometimes battles are won in waves rather than all out assaults….what is really most important is better nurse patient ratios according to what I have heard….a new contract comes up every two years or so doesn’t it? Everyone has to tighten their belts in this economy dear and yes maybe they do have to chose to be adequately staffed and a little underpaid right now…nothing is forever……

    • hey-I’m-your-man

      Well said!

  • Anonymous

    “Numerous motorists honked in solidarity…”   That was me telling them to get out of my way.

    • Anonymous

      I passed by EMMC last night around 5:30. There were six (6) picketers at the main entrance and maybe twenty-four (24) by the State Street ER entrance. I heard a few drivers honking their horns…maybe one of them was yours!

  • Anonymous

    Really?  Again?   Just give them some colorful banners and let them have their annual Parade of Dissatisfaction.  Seriously.  Get over yourselves.

  • Anonymous

    To all you union haters and busters out there,EMH uses the catch phrase “Together We’re Stronger in it’s employee propaganda,I just find it ironic that such a workers union hating organization,they would use such a obviously true statement.  The Bushfans among us call the unions extortionists,but defend the over inflated exorbitant salaries of middle and upper management . Im also sick and tired of the unions haters saying that unions are the reason why jobs have left America. The only reason jobs that are transportable have been sent out of America is due to corporate greed to squeeze out a extra few percentage points of profit. Whats pathetic is union haters utter lack of factual data to support their tired old lies about unions. They count on ignorance to enable their lies to be believable.
    Having recently been a cardiac patient at EMMC , I can attest to the pure dedication of the nurses we are lucky enough to have serving the citizens of Eastern Maine. While the patient  ratio on the ICU and the CCU units seems to be adequate,the patient to nurse ratio  seems to be a bit lacking on the main patient floors. 

  • Anonymous

    I was in the emergency room a few months back and witnessed a horror show.  Not only do these nurses have to deal with the normal stresses of their chosen profession, the’re dealing with crazy people on bath salts and oxycodone on a regular basis. I’m sure management thinks they deserve their pay rate trying to operate in these tough times. But I would be curious to see the pay scale of all management from the top down for the last 3 years.  If the brass is not willing to lead by example with full disclosure of their compensation packages and show how or what they have done to hold the line on costs, then I say pay them.   3% per year is not unreasonable.  I’m surprised their not asking for more.  They deserve it.

    • Anonymous

      The workers and managers at EMMC that I know haven’t received a pay raise in a couple of years now. In fact, you hear these words instead…”Praise is better then pay”.

      And the compensation packages of the executives ARE a matter of public record as EMMC is a not-for-profit organization and have to file executive compensation reports with the IRS (form 990) each and every year just like other non-profits do. These records are available if you know how to Google them.

      • Anonymous

        Praise is fine but CASH is devine

  • Anonymous

    Whats good for one employee should also pertain to all the employees.

  • Anonymous

    Its funny to see how many people are giving them crap about the protest but when people are protesting about the cuts in the dhs budget there doesn’t seem to be as much outrage. The er is a scary place now with a few security guards so I don’t blame them for wanting to change this part of their contract. The comment on why don’t they protest all year, I am sure when your working 40 plus a week you pick your times to do this and contract time is the best. Unlike some they cannot drop the remote and go protest whenever they feel like it.

    • Anonymous

       You could have fooled me..  CYA at the Library.   :)

  • Anonymous

    Instead of making “demands” on their employer, maybe they should be grateful that they have jobs. All of us have to deal with things at our jobs that we don’t like. This is the profession that they chose, and it comes with hard things to deal with. Most people would be fired if they made “demands” on their employers. Don’t get me wrong, I know that nurses work hard, but so do many other professions. 
    Why do people care so much about how much money management makes. They obviously have these jobs because they earned them. Whether they own companies, or run them, it shouldn’t matter. Just worry about yourself, and if you want to be management, then work hard and earn the job!

  • Anonymous

    “The nurses, who did not receive a cost of living increase in the contract that expired earlier this month…”
    I am confused as to why they think they should be the only group of workers in the greater Bangor area to think they are owed one.  Don’t we all think that we work hard, yet the cost of living increase has become something of the past for many of us? You’re lucky to receive a merit raise each year.  If safety and numbers is an issue – fix it.  If it’s truly about wages, I’m surprised to think this field isn’t making enough – it is Maine – if you’re looking for wages like Boston or New York, this isn’t the state for you. 

    • Anonymous

      my husband works for the state, hasn’t had any raise of any kind in 5 years … 

  • Anonymous

    Being a RN at a nonunion hospital, I am bothered by nurses who chose to picket rather than take care of patients. At the last strike, nurses walked off their jobs being replaced by temps causing a disturbance in the care of the patients. If the nurses chose this, maybe they should pack up and work a a fast food restaurant. Maybe then they would be gracious and thankful for what they have

    • Anonymous

      As an RN at a nonunion hospital, I am bothered by nurses who bash colleagues for taking a stand. Demanding safe working conditions and safe staffing levels is part of patient care. It’s unfortunate that this led to a strike, but it’s the nurses’ unions that have led to better working conditions and wages for many RNs in this country. If it weren’t for colleagues willing to take a stand, RNs would still be working for fast-food wages. Maybe you should be gracious and thankful for what they’ve done for you instead of being snide. They’ve improved conditions for all of us.

  • Anonymous

    I agree.  We’d all be quitting our jobs if we continue to compare our wages to that of a CEO – unfortunately, there are employees and there are management.  I kick myself every day for not finishing college and preparing myself for a better paying job.  I make what I make, and my supervisor makes what they make, and on and on.  No, I don’t agree that the CEO of EMMC needs to make more than the salary of the President of the US (not counting the extras, mind you) and whether or not we all agree, that wage difference is not going to change.  All we can do it work hard, apply for promotions, and maybe someday some of us will be running things.  We haven’t received cost of living for years – but we have jobs and they are pretty good paying jobs.  If I don’t like it, there’s 150 people who would love to apply for it.

  • Anonymous

    I agree.  We’d all be quitting our jobs if we continue to compare our wages to that of a CEO – unfortunately, there are employees and there are management.  I kick myself every day for not finishing college and preparing myself for a better paying job.  I make what I make, and my supervisor makes what they make, and on and on.  No, I don’t agree that the CEO of EMMC needs to make more than the salary of the President of the US (not counting the extras, mind you) and whether or not we all agree, that wage difference is not going to change.  All we can do it work hard, apply for promotions, and maybe someday some of us will be running things.  We haven’t received cost of living for years – but we have jobs and they are pretty good paying jobs.  If I don’t like it, there’s 150 people who would love to apply for it.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve read stories about drug crazed people flipping out in the ER at EMMC (and other hospitals) and I am in total agreement that security needs to be a priority.  It’s not just the doctors and nurses that are in danger when a drug abuser goes psycho.  There are other ER patients and the people in the waiting room who are also put at risk.

    I also think that there needs to be more staffing for the ER.  Any time I’ve been there the wait times are very long.     

  • Anonymous

    duplicate post

  • Scott Enlow

    @appalachian_station  …….I think the “business” became everyones business when the nurses made a spectacle of themselves like they did. Telling anyone to mind their business when one side of the business is standing in a group yelling and waving a bright colored sign to gain attention is pre4tty stupid fella. Were they not trying to attract “rubber neckers” ?  Make yourself a t-shirt that says, “Here’s my sign.”

  • Anonymous

    The nurses are standing up for what they believe in, and they have every right to do so. When my department had a chance to unionize a long time ago, I wish I had pushed harder for us to join. Now over 10 years later, my department hasn’t seen 1 pay raise in all that time, and our pay has actually been cut by over 25%! If I had to choose making a company look bad or standing up for my rights, I would choose my rights every time!

  • tag

    And people wonder why health care is expensive. Hospitals are becoming just like public schools. The workers are overpaid and apathetic. It must be nice to have a guaranteed pay increase each year. Most of us have to work for it.

  • So it has come around again. Nurses wanting more and more of the pie. As a nurse that works in long -term care, I just arrived home after taking care of 56 resident on the night shift. Nursing is hard, hard work with way too little rewards. However, when you get them, I find that I walk on water for a few days.
    I feel that the media has failed to educate the public on one rather amazing fact that occurred last year when my fellow nurses went on strike. That fact is: that when if was over, they could go up to Human resourses and request the number of hours that they had lost on the strike  paid to them from  thier earned time( if the had any available). This fact is indeed an amazing turn about in labor relations. Jimmy Hoffa must be turning over in his grave.

  • Anonymous

    wah, wah, cry, cry, same ol’, same ol’ tired song and dance by a union

    • Anonymous

       Do you feel the same about the BIW union?

  • Anonymous

    I fail to see how a union can improve patient care.  Nurses should be paid based on their individual abilities.  If they deserve a pay raise as an individual they should get one.  If they deserve a pay reduction due to poor performance they should get one.  Unions take the competition and incentives away from the employees to do a good job. 

  • Anonymous

    A few months ago, I was a patient at EMMC. I had been brought in for emergency surgery through the emergency department, where I believe I received good care. After my surgery, I was transferred to a “non-surgical” floor, and the nurses were sure to tell me so. When I complained of pain and discomfort, I was told to go and walk around, it was probably gas. At least 5-6 nurses were gabbing at the nurses station, not hurrying to eat lunch or doing paperwork, or getting meds. Then I was transferred to the surgical floor.  On this floor, I repeatedly told nursing staff that something was wrong with me and to please call the doctor to which the nurse replied “I am not calling the doctor at this time of the night because you are constipated” Constipation had NOTHING to do with it. Turned out, I had a pretty bad surgical infection and required another procedure to put a drain in my lower belly. Since I am a brittle diabetic, the infection caused me to almost die from ketoacidosis. I was transferred to the ICU where the care was even worse. I was in an immense amount of pain and the nurses would only say that I must have had a drug problem. When I eventually was brought back to the surgical floor, I had wonderful nurses. They were busy and I can appreciate that and agree that some nurses run circles around others. It seems to me that a resolution would be to cut the fat withe nurses who chat and do nothing all day and replace them with nurses who don’t mind working their shift. I am STILL recovering. I truly believe that some of these nurses need to be let go. When I complained about my care, I got a letter saying that it is policy that patients are not treated this way and if I perceived something else, they are sorry. BULL.

    • Anonymous

       Wow, what an ordeal. Your story sounds like a nightmare. I’m glad you made it through and hope that you continue to recover without any problems.

    • Truthand Honestly

      As an EMMC employee, I am very sorry for your trial.  By far, no words can say enough for an apology.  No patient deserves the treatment you received, ever!  This is not by any means an excuse, but so many of our seasoned nurses have moved on from our floor units to the speciality units.  We’re left with young college grads that are inexperienced and do not have the direction from older nurses.  Yes, you’re right, their are nurses that sit and chat, socialize, and it very angersome.  Always be an advocate for you own care, as you were, but some are not.  I hope your recovery is soon over. 

  • Justin Haggerty

    Removed

  • All they are crying about is what they want.  What about what the patients need? The hypocritic oath is more like a hypocritic oath. First do no harm may rear-end.  All they are doing is causing harm. Don’t give them what they want. Give the patients what they need. They need doctor and nurses that actually care about them not their wallets.

  • Anonymous

    I have been in healthcare for more than 30 years and EMHC it always have nurses that are never satisfied with the income they make. All they ever do is complain time and time again. If I were the CEO at EMHC I would get rid of these nurses and hire new ones. The union only wants more money for political reasons.

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