Tag Archives: Bemidji Sanford Hospital
Video

Bemidji Nurses March on the Boss

9 Aug

MNA nurses march on the boss at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center.

Best letter ever written by a patient in support of nurses – must read!

25 Aug

This ran in today’s edition of The Bemidji Pioneer:

I am a retired senior citizen who spends four months in the Bemidji area at a lake cottage. I am appalled at the recent one-page advertisement/dissertation by Paul Hanson, president of Sanford Bemidji Medical Center. President Hanson’s defense of Sanford’s commitment to quality health scares me.

Has Mr. Hanson ever had a patient push a call button in the middle of the night? Who does he think comes to the aid of patients who have had urinary or fecal problems or pain problems in the middle of the night? It’s the nurse. It’s the nurse who always has a smile. It’s the nurse who says, “It’s OK. I’ll clean it up.” It’s the nurse who says, “Call me again if the pain doesn’t go away.”

I firmly believe the nurses in Bemidji deserve better than what Sanford has offered. I firmly believe nurses are not getting the extra staff that is needed. I firmly believe Sanford is trying to eliminate a defined pension, which our great Bemidji nurses have earned by their hard and tireless work in the middle of the night and long days. In my 70-plus years, I have never seen management bring care to my bedside. I have never seen management change sheets on my bed. I have never seen management go without pay increases, bonuses or severance packages.

As I see and read it, Sanford Bemidji bases its justification for limiting of staff or giving decent pay (including defined pension) to its nurse employees on a “benefit program that is competitive, sustainable, and affordable.”

Sanford Bemidji, open your eyes to what makes your hospital important. It’s your nurses – not your self-directed, one-page dissertations, or spending millions on hockey rinks or wellness centers. Write about the good nurses you have. Write about how you back them up. Don’t be short sighted. Try spending your money where it is needed – on staff. To your amazement, you may even find this “sustainable and affordable.”

Vince Thoma
Fergus Fall, Minn.

Urgent Update for Bemidji RNs – Please Read!

13 Aug

Peter Danielson, MNA RN

Management’s campaign:

We meet again with management September 7th. When we first started bargaining under our new relationship with Sanford they were already plotting a strike at Brigid’s Cross on April 19th for anyone in the public to hear. The message overheard by our MNA staff Dan Engelhart was if the nurses don’t go along with the Sanford proposals we will prepare for a ‘work stoppage’. At that time they were already making plans for nurses that would work our jobs and take care of our patients if we didn’t go along with their agenda.  We called Bob Verchota and the attorney management had at that time out  the next morning in our first bargaining session and they admitted the conversation. We are still unsure if they plan on locking us out if we don’t agree to all their agenda of taking away our long standing agreements for our health insurance and pension for example.  We remain as your bargaining team committed to do everything possible to avoid a strike and be patient with the power you have given us through our overwhelming vote to reject the unacceptable position management has forced us into. The current proposal as it stand will divide our union into essentially two separate contracts and open the door to further and further cuts. The staffing language we agreed upon was through mostly compromise on our part and has no guarantees. It is another committee with some more enforcement mechanisms. We were told we would have to ‘trust the new management’. It is hard to trust when management wants to take away everything we have earned. Our experience with their own health insurance is that on its face it is very much a change for most nurses who have health insurance. We have many questions that remain regarding the network and coverage.

Unfortunately after many months later we are left to wonder if Paul Hanson and Sanford management has wanted us to strike all along. Or if they still may want to lock us out? We will never know these answers yet we need to show unity. The attempts to threaten us and intimidate us are only making us stronger as a union. We are one of three Sanford facilities that have a union. It is up to us to show them that we are not going to let the Sanford agenda dictate the future of our profession. Stand strong stay united and please talk to your union representatives.

At the bargaining table we are only as strong as all of us. United we will win!

Management will tell you all sorts of things, do you trust your retirement to the stock market? Are you willing to gamble on Sanford’s own health insurance that we already know will be more costly out of pocket for most of us, when we don’t know the network? These are only a part of the take aways from what we have that management has proposed. We have to show them that nurses matter more than new buildings and corporate GALAS!

We need to show management how serious we are to maintain what we have and that if their end of the compromised staffing agreement on ‘trust’ is not held up we will hold them accountable. Staffing situations lately have left us and our patients at risk. This cannot continue. We need you to commit to Picket on Wednesday August 17th!

– Peter Danielson and your bargaining team.

Sign it up: Bemidji RNs to make info picket signs on Aug. 16th (Media event)

10 Aug

Bemidji RN’s Op/Ed: Does this sound safe to you?

10 Aug

Diane Scott, RN

MNA RN Diane Scott wrote a great Op/Ed that was recently published in The Bemidji Pioneer. Diane did a fantastic job laying out exactly what is at stake during contract negotiations with Sanford Bemidji Hospital!

The July 30 Bemidji Pioneer story “Hospital services unaffected: Registered nurses reject contract offer, negotiations still possible” contained the following comment from a Sanford Bemidji marketing director: “We follow best practice nurse staffing guidelines set by professional nursing organizations.”

As a registered nurse working on the medical/surgical unit of our local hospital, I feel it is important to explain how these “nurse staffing guidelines” would affect you if you were a patient of mine. First, did you know that the number of patients that I care for is not based on how sick those patients are? Sanford’s corporate managers might call this scenario “best staffing,” but it’s not “safe staffing.”

Here’s an example. Let’s say you have just returned from a lengthy surgery in which your hip was repaired. Your wife accompanies you from the Operating Room to the medical/surgical floor and notices that you’ve been assigned to a nurse who is already caring for five other patients at the same time. You just became the nurse’s sixth patient. What you, your wife and your family might not realize is that in March 2011, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester stated patients could be up to 25 percent more likely to die when unsafe staffing occurs. Other national studies have shown that patients could be 53 percent more likely to suffer from respiratory failure and 68 percent more likely to acquire a preventable infection due to unsafe staffing levels.

Those are dramatic outcomes, of course. But let’s just say you feel sick and throw up, or need help going to the bathroom – now – and nobody is available to assist you. You ring your call light, but nobody answers. Remember, your nurse is dealing with five, six or even more patients at the same time.

Is this the type of medical care you and your family expect? Is this what Sanford refers to when it talks about “best staffing” practices?

I’m a registered nurse, and we are repeatedly cited in polls as the most trusted professionals in the United States. I’m also a member of the Minnesota Board of Nursing and a professional nurse educator. Most important, I’m your friend and your neighbor. Bemidji is our community, and I and other nurses are going to stand up and speak out when we feel your safety is being compromised. Especially when the only reason we can see for it happening is so a giant corporation like Sanford can make bigger profits.

Diane Scott, RN

Bemidji

Video: TV News coverage of MNA RNs plans for info picket outside of Sanford Bemidji Hospital

9 Aug

Breaking News: Bemidji Nurses Serve Notice

5 Aug

Listen Up: Bemidji Nurses Deliver 10-day notice of intent to conduct informational picket outside Sanford Hospital

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: John Nemo, 651-414-2863

BEMIDJI, Minnesota (August 5, 2011) – Frustrated by Sanford Bemidji Hospital’s refusal to meet in a timely fashion and fearing for the safety of their patients and each other, nurses delivered a formal 10-day informational picketing notice today to hospital officials.

The picketing is scheduled to occur outside the hospital from 3-5 p.m. on August 17, during the midst of what Sanford officials are touting as “Gala Week,” a six-day celebration of the corporation’s “plans to raise the bar for fiscal year 2012 and beyond,” according to its website.

“Apparently, Sanford Health is too busy celebrating the expansion of its growing corporate empire to resolve legitimate and significant concerns about the safety of its patients and nurses,” said Peter Danielson, RN, chair of the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) bargaining team. “I can tell you, right now, the environment I’m working in is oftentimes not safe for our patients and our nurses. Such a large part of these contract negotiations has been aimed at remedying these unsafe staffing situations. It boggles your mind to see that while Sanford has time for a weeklong, corporate extravaganza to talk about its financial goals, it doesn’t have time to negotiate a contract that has a direct impact on the safety and well-being of its patients.”

While not wanting to rush directly into a strike, Danielson said nurses can no longer stand idly by as they watch their patients and co-workers continue to suffer. He said nurses hope that conducting an informational picket during “Gala Week” will show the public where Sanford Bemidji’s priorities appear to lie when it comes to addressing patient and nurse safety inside the hospital.

Despite recent and well-publicized statements from its Marketing Director and Chief Operations Officer stating Sanford Bemidji continues to “be open to further negotiations” and is “always willing to negotiate – always,” hospital officials recently told a federal mediator the hospital won’t come back to the bargaining table any earlier than September 7, 2011.

The current contract between the hospital and 230 nurses represented by MNA expired on February 28, 2011, and negotiations have been ongoing since early April. Nurses voted overwhelmingly on July 28 to reject Sanford’s “final” contract offer, instead authorizing bargaining team leaders to call for a strike.

“Our nurses would love nothing better than to reach an agreement with management that is both fair to nurses and puts patient safety – in writing – as its top priority,” Danielson said. “The hospital has forced us into this position by refusing to honor either of those requests for the past several months. And now they expect us – and, more importantly, their patients – to continue operating in an unsafe staffing environment for at least another month because they’re too busy hosting corporate events and outlining their fiscal goals?”

Sanford Health, a growing corporate health giant that employs 18,000 workers across eight different states, recently bought the Bemidji hospital – previously known as North Country Regional Hospital – and is negotiating its first contract with members of the Minnesota Nurses Association.

Major sticking points in the talks have included safe staffing levels and the ability for nurses to have what they feel are adequate resources available for patient care at the bedside, according to Danielson. Other issues include hospital management’s demand for major concessions from nurses regarding their healthcare and pension plans, a move that would make it extremely difficult for the hospital to recruit and retain qualified nurses.

Founded in 1905, the Minnesota Nurses Association has represented Bemidji nurses for more than 30 years and represents more than 20,000 nurses in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. MNA is also an affiliate of National Nurses United, which represents more than 170,000 RNs across the United States.

Please visit MNA’s Bemidji page for more details and updates at http://www.mnnurses.org/Bemidji

Press Release: Bemidji Nurses Question “Puzzling” Delay by Hospital in Contract Talks

4 Aug

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: John Nemo, 651-414-2863

BEMIDJI, Minnesota (August 4, 2011) – During contract negotiations with their 230 Registered Nurses (RNs), Sanford Bemidji Hospital officials have been quick to tout their ‘family’-type commitment to their patients and the RNs who care for them.

“We have always been and continue to be open to further negotiations,” said Sanford Bemidji Marketing Director Lindsay Wagnberg in a recent Bemidji Pioneer newspaper article.

“We as an organization have been and continue to be always willing to negotiate – always,” added Sanford Bemidji Chief Operations Officer Joy Johnson in the same piece.

In light of those public proclamations, and with its nurses recently rejecting the hospital’s “final” offer and instead authorizing a strike by an overwhelming margin, why did Sanford Bemidji management just tell a federal mediator the hospital won’t come back to the bargaining table any earlier than September 7, 2011?

“Our nurses have serious and legitimate concerns for the safety of our patients given the current staffing levels and work environment inside our hospital,” said Peter Danielson, RN, chair of the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) bargaining team. “And a large part of these contract negotiations has been aimed at remedying those unsafe situations as soon as possible. If Sanford management really meant it when they said ‘family’ is one of their core values, wouldn’t they want to resolve this as quickly as they can? Especially when the safety and well-being of their patients and nurses continues to suffer as a result?”

The current contract between the hospital and MNA nurses expired on February 28, 2011, and negotiations have been ongoing since early April. Nurses voted overwhelmingly on July 28 to reject Sanford’s “final” contract offer, instead authorizing bargaining team leaders to call for a strike.

“It’s unfortunate that Sanford officials continue to say one thing publicly and then do the exact opposite privately,” Danielson said. “Knowing that we could give our ten day strike notice at any time, and with the safety of our patients hanging in the balance, Sanford’s sudden lack of urgency is quite puzzling, don’t you think?”

Danielson said nurses are ready to meet “anywhere, anytime” and work with the hospital to settle the contract dispute.

“Our nurses would love nothing better than to reach an agreement with management that is both fair to nurses and puts patient safety – in writing – as its top priority,” Danielson said. “The hospital has forced us into this position by refusing to honor either of those requests for the past several months. And now they expect us – and, more importantly, their patients – to continue operating in an unsafe staffing environment for at least another month because they’re suddenly too busy to talk?”

Sanford Health, a growing corporate health giant that employs 18,000 workers across eight different states, recently bought the Bemidji hospital – previously known as North Country Regional Hospital – and is negotiating its first contract with members of the Minnesota Nurses Association.

Major sticking points in the talks have included safe staffing levels and the ability for nurses to have what they feel are adequate resources available for patient care at the bedside, according to Danielson. Other issues include hospital management’s demand for major concessions from nurses regarding their healthcare and pension plans, a move that would make it extremely difficult for the hospital to recruit and retain top nurses.

Founded in 1905, the Minnesota Nurses Association has represented Bemidji nurses for more than 30 years and represents more than 20,000 nurses in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. MNA is also an affiliate of National Nurses United, which represents more than 170,000 RNs across the United States.

Please visit MNA’s Bemidji page for more details and updates

Our Favorite Tweet Ever!

29 Jul

Rock on, Minnesota State Rep. Carly Melin!

Learn more about what’s going on in Bemidji on MNA’s Bemidji page.

 

Video: Bemidji Nurses Handle Interviews with Poise, Professionalism

29 Jul

Great job with the media Bemidji RNs! Your vote last night was covered from Fargo to Minneapolis on various TV stations and reached an estimated 427,000 viewers! Most important, you spoke the truth about the situation at Sanford and did so with poise and professionalism. We’d expect nothing less from MNA RNs!

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