Nurse strike enters third week

PASNAP representatives and hospital administrators met Friday to negotiate a new contract but were unsuccessful.

PASNAP representatives and hospital administrators met Friday to negotiate a new contract but were unsuccessful.

As the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals approaches its third week on strike, no agreement has been reached. The most recent negotiation took place the afternoon of Friday, April 16 and failed to yield a contract to which both parties agreed.

PASNAP, the union representing the Temple University Hospital nurses, began striking March 31 as a result of unsuccessful contract negotiations.

“It is disappointing to us that, once again, PASNAP leadership has refused to recognize the economic and market realities that support our last, best and final offer,” TUH Interim CEO Sandy Gomberg said in a statement. “Instead, PASNAP offered a comprehensive off-the-record proposal that was too far apart from our implemented last, best and final offer.”

When PASNAP went on strike, TUH implemented the conditions of its “last, best and final offer,” and said nurses who have returned to work since the strike began are doing so under those conditions, which include: a 4 percent wage increase over three years, additional automatic “step” increases from 2 percent to 10 percent based on years of experience, a choice of three healthcare packages which TUH provides its non-union employees, employee tuition reimbursement without reimbursement for dependents of employees and bonuses of up to $2,000 a year for nursing certifications.

“After working for several hours, the union bargaining committee put together a comprehensive proposal to reach an agreement and end the strike. The union committee floated proposals on health care co-payments, wages and the tuition reimbursement policy, amongst others. Temple’s representatives took five minutes to look at the proposal and said they would make no compromises whatsoever in order to settle the strike,” read a PASNAP press release.

“The Temple University Trustees, including trustees appointed by elected officials, now have a duty to step in to do whatever is necessary to settle this strike,” Executive Director of PASNAP Bill Cruice said.

“Temple is squandering $5 million a week of taxpayer money on their strikebreaker operation,” Cruice said, “substantially more than what it would take to settle this strike.”

In addition to unsuccessful contract negotiations over the weekend, PASNAP has called for review of Health Source Global Staffing, the company providing replacement nurses to TUH during the strike.

Regarding the letter from City Controller Alan Butkovitz to Gomberg, Cruice said, “Because of Health Source Global Staffing’s questionable record, we have asked Temple to fully disclose proof that the replacement workers in the hospital are properly licensed and competent to care for our patients. Now, an independent review by the City Controllers’ office has found that HSGS and Temple appear to be violating multiple city laws including obligations under the business licensing and wage tax. While this can be expected from HSGS, we urge Temple to cease squandering millions in taxpayer dollars on this discredited company and instead make a reasonable offer to the dedicated nursing and professional staff.”

After sending the letter, TUH released a statement, saying, “We have responded to the City Controller’s request for information, advising him that all temporary workers of HealthSource Global Staffing, Inc., are their employees, and, as such, HealthSource Global is responsible for complying with all city requirements.”

“We have shared the contents of the City Controller’s letter with HealthSource Global, and have been advised that they are following up on the issues raised in that letter,” TUH added.

Over the weekend, PASNAP reported that a hospital patient came to the picket line complaining of inadequate nursing care. Yesterday, in response, the union filed a report with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

“The management of Temple has been misleading this community by insisting everything is fine when clearly it is not,” Cruice said. “There are many reports indicating that the hospital did not fully prepare for the strike or recruit enough qualified staff.”

Gomberg said TUH’s priority remains providing uninterrupted quality care to their patients.

Members of the union, as well as supporters, continue to picket outside the Temple Hospital at Broad and Ontario streets, chanting “What’s disgusting? Union Busting” and “No contract no peace.”

Valerie Rubinsky can be reached at valerie.rubinsky@temple.edu.

36 Comments

  1. Quite the opposite has been expressed by patients and family members that I have personally had the privilege of caring for. The patients have expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the professional & quality care they have received from the replacement staff. They continue to report they are receiving better care from the replacement staff of Healthsource Global and other companies than they ever have from the Temple nursing staff. The information provided in this article couldn’t be further from the truth.

  2. I’m not sure where Ms. Sheldon is working, but the intensive care unit seems to be having many problems. I was there today when an upset family member of a patient in the ICU approached my husband and asked how to file a complaint. These are not rare cases, nor are they minor issues. How exactly does a patient leave the ICU on Saturday & the Telemetry floor on Sunday, two areas in which patients are supposed to be closely monitored, without anyone even noticing??

  3. I am disgusted at Marie Sheldons comment! Who paid you to write that? The care is disgusting and the nurses hired have no idea what is going on! TUH is harming their patients by placing these underqualified nurses in their service. Stop wasting the tax payers
    money!

  4. Exactly, who paid Marie Sheldon to write that? I wonder who could it be???? Temple is witholding care from their patients due to inadequate,and underqualified staff. Sandy Gomberg you should be ashamed of yourself. All you do is LIE. To think that you were a nurse and to let this go on. How sad. Everyones health fails them at some point in their lives. Just remember your not only burning the bridges of Temple Nurses and Allied Health Professionals.Your burning the bridges of Nurses and Health care workers across this country. It’s not business as usual, and you definitely do not put patients first.

  5. The only people causing trouble are the union nurses. They are all greedy and I hope they all are out of jobs. The BS that you are talking about patient care is stupid. The majority of the people on the line outside never lifts a finger towards patient care and sits behind the desk eating all day. You all should jobless anyway and let people that want to work have jobs.

    I hope it rains for the next month and you all wash away!

  6. I would have time to write all the bogus statements about Temple if I were sitting on my butt doing nothing right now to. How about instead of spending your time writing fake information you work. How about you hand out two Advil’s because that is worth more than $40.00 dollars per hour. And to think you work hard………..

  7. How about the nurse that saved my child’s life…what do you think I feel she should be paid?? And that DID happen, how much do you think a patient’s life is worth….as for making up lies..I point to the following…Gomberg, when patient safety issues were raised in light of the fact that 850 were hired to replace 1500 said that the replacements would work 3-5 twelve hour shifts a week, safe by industry standards. The replacements themselves have either bragged or complained, depending on whether they value money or their sanity, that they have worked 8 or more shifts in a row…many have said during those shifts they had put in one or more day longer than 12 hours, as well. So, Gomberg’s little statement that was made to convince the reporters and the public that this was a situation being well-staffed, while taking into account the best interests of the patients was what? She is being very well-paid to convince anyone she can that things are so wonderful in there. I say it again, a med surge floor has a shot of doing well, especially when the patient census is low and the nurses do not care about the hospital conditions because they are making a big old wad of money and getting out of dodge, but the critical care areas??? Do those posting have any clue as to the number of critical care or other specialty beds there are at a hospital like Temple??(Where, for those of you who have apparently a full lack of knowledge…Advil is just not what it is about!) I am unsure of the exact number, but the local hospital here in NJ has an ICU a CCU and a telemetry floor with maybe 16 beds…I think Temple has them beat, which is why people from the burbs get sent there…Come on, these are places where nurses train and orient for weeks in order to get things right. Temple has multiple specialty areas that demand skills well above the ICU at the community or smaller hospital’s levels. There is just no way that mistakes are not being made and it is blatantly unfair and illogical for anyone to think otherwise. I assume that the replacement nurse above has done her best and has given adequate care, I also assume that there have been errors and less than stellar care, too. When my kids are in the hospital and a nurse brings their meds on time we thank them…so good for Ms.Sheldon, I HAVE never, and nor has anone we know (Imade some phone calls this morning, we are in a network of multiple families whose children many of them young adults) compared the care of one nurse to another, I have just thanked them and gotten back to the task at hand…caring for and worrying about my family member. I find it incredulous that SOOO many patients have done so when it has not been the experience of a rather large group of people who have all experienced multiple hospitalizations. I find it interesting also, that the majority of posters “from the inside” appear to be medical residents…who in med-surge areas that are likely low census, and likely experiencing fewer and fewer of the more serious cases, ER being on either official or “unofficial” divert so much, are definitely working less and sleeping more…of course things are going well in our estimation…for starters you are not being called as much and are therefore less annoyed to start out with…LOL,,, I have experienced that facet of hospitalization as well! Let’s face it, the best case scenario is to get this fiasco settled fairly, especially where the patient safety, supply and other issues are concerned and get everyone back in there respective positions. Then, the good nurses, and caring docs, need to hold all, their colleagues and co-workers, to the highest standards…Temple will be watched for a long time after this. Finally, majbe then the public and professionals could get together and do something about the ridiculous hours residents are forced to work…indentured servitude ahould remain a thing of the past in this country and should not be alive and well in the medical profession…(IE…I will work ridiculous hours for next to nothing, while I get the rest of my training…granted..it is a training period…but it borders on ridiculous at times!!!)

  8. I apologize for the typos above…typing with one hand and doing some exercises with my daughter with the other….for many of us, we go home with knowledge imparted by docs, residents, nurses and therapists, hoping to make things easier for those in our family….thankfully, we have had nothing but good from the regular staff at Temple Hospital!

  9. So let me get this straight. I just want to be sure but from what you are saying is that if we pay our nurses more they will do a better job? And if the nurse was making 10 dollars an hour she would have not saved your child? It all comes back to the same thing. You want more money and your not worth it you are greedy. If Temple did not spend the money on equipment or the worker that makes 10 dollars an hour make sure you had your coffee and supplies the nurse would have not saved your daughter. You see all you think is about yourself. GREEDY

  10. The patients are being hurt by Temple and Temple’s desire to “GAG” the nurses. Temple needs to rethink what they are doing for their patients, the nurses, the residents of Philadelphia, and the overall situation affecting healthcare.

    The “GAG” clause is unethical, immoral, and quite possibly illegal.

  11. my wife is there at Temple as an rn surgical assistant and i am a surgical tech. No matter where we travel to work, our standards remain high and without reproach. I feel for the strikers but i do not have the right to strike in Ole Virginia… we work for what we get paid and treat each patient like they are a family member.

  12. Mike-Let me get this straight, you think someone who save lives is not worth more than $10 an hour, you think (I will use that term loosely at the moment) that any worker that wants more (or to even maintain their level of compensation) for a job well-done is greedy, I do not drink coffee, I have NEVER EVER treated a nurse like my personal servant and for you to think so proves you know very little about the critically ill, the times I have gone to seek nurses help were for things like extra bandaging materials, clean sheets due to vomit—maybe you like to lay in your own filth but I do not allow that for my family, bed pans, emesis basins, and other things that had become emergent needs…I then have usually done the necessary care associated with these things on my own as the nurses were simply too busy…how dare you think that all I think about is myself…I have two children who have been critically ill, I have given up more than you will most likely ever have, in the pursuit of excellent care for them!!!! I am absolutely astounded by your utter lack of sensibility and your huge leap in logic…education is the key to success and the way out of that $10 an hour job you think is so lucrative.

  13. And furthermore, Mike (or as i will laughingly refer to you, the deep thinker), If Temple spends more to supply more staff and to keep units well stocked with necessities I believe more lives could be saved. If the appropriate supplies were not readily available the greedy wench (JK) that saved my daughter’s life would have been unable to do so….of course, I am GREEDY for wanting her life as well as that of all patients to be valuable enough to Temple that these things occur…oh silly me…I will have to repent for the GREED involved in my caring about whether my child, or any other human (even idiots, drug addicts, supposed deep thinkers, etc) get the best possible care at all times!!!
    Wow…I cannot wait to tell my friends, family etc…about how greedy I am…our laughter at you expense will be absolutely priceless…the clueless among us on this planet are amusing to me…I know it is a personality flaw on my part…I should have empathy for the less fortunate in all walks of life……..

  14. What I am saying is that you post all these things like what Sandy G makes. If you want to make that kind of money shut up and go do it but don’t be bitter about that fact that you hand out Advil for a living and act like without you the ship will sink. Maybe you can’t read but when I was talking about the nurse having supplies that she needed I was referring to the fact that it is just more than you greedy nurses that control patient care. We all do you self righteous jobless picketer. Shut up with your fabricated stories and go back to work………

  15. I think it’s about time that Temple stops paying an exorbitant amount of money on temp staff and PR and starts thinking about its patients. As a patient, I want a trained professional, not some temporary worker unfamiliar with hospital procedures and protocol. I think it’s sad that all Temple keeps repeating is “last, best and final offer”. Newsflash, that’s not negotiating, that’s acting more like a child having a tantrum. Show your patients that you’re serious about their well-being, if you don’t; I know a lot of people who will continue to go elsewhere for care. Stay united Temple workers and I will stand united with you.

  16. To apparently unable to read or express himself to make his point…ie that deep thinker Mike ..I am not a nurse nor have I ever been, I am the parent of Temple patients, who with other parents of sick kids have gotten together to advocate for patients…moron….I could never be a nurse, they have to save all lives…even yours if you get sick…I am not that compassionate..LOL what a joke you are…I could care less what Gomberg makes, as long as she does a good job (debatable)…I am hardly bitter…however, you come off as such, and slightly less than capable of reasoning,I think most intelligent people here would see that you cannot really read or express your opinion well…might I suggest remedial writing and reading followed by persuasive writing, you know an English 101 type course…fabricated stories, please…I would be happy to meet you next week one day…I will be at Presbyterian on Tuesday and Jefferson on Monday…I will have with me a young lady either on crutches or if she is too weak in a wheel chair…Wednesday, I will be at CHOP with my son and Thursday I will be at a docs office in center city…hey Friday I have some work to do, but I am likely going to get groceries…won’t have sick kids with me then, but you can look for me at the local grocer…….Actually tomorrow we will be with the pain management people and the next day too…I think Friday no one has appointments, care to meet my fabrications…do not be so self-righteous and do not ASSume you know anything about me… Personally, if I was you, I might think twice about the meeting, I have been known to make a grown man cry and little boys with even smaller minds pretty much have no chance…now go find a job or take a class…you clearly are clueless…you might even try volunteering to help some people…although I am not sure anyone wants to take on someone as dis-compassionate as you appear to be…and why don’t oyu share with us just who you are in all of this I quote “I was referring to the fact that it is just more than you greedy nurses that control patient care. We all do you….”
    My offer stands…let me know and I will be happy to introduce you to my fabrications…or at least one of them…they do not usually have appointments on the same day..LOL…if you ever stop being ignorant, bitter, angry and just plain wrong life might look up for ya..enjoy…LOL

  17. I am appalled that there are still people out there who are so ignorant that they think that all nurses do is hand out pills. Nursing is a highly skilled endeavor involving years of education and honed by more years of experience. Intensive care, in particular requires a high level of knowledge, skill, compassion, understanding and competence. It is one of the most stressful jobs there is. In order to attract the highest level of talent and intelligence we must pay nurses a salary commensurate with the demands of the job. In order to provide the best care for patients we must assure that the workload (nurse-patient ratios) are commensurate with that desired level of care. There is nothing wrong with nurses demanding respect, excellent pay, and working conditions which promote and protect their ability to provide the best possible care to their patients. What is ridiculous is that Temple University is damaging it’s reputation and failing to provide quality care to it’s patients as it pays scabs ridiculous amounts of money in what appears to be more of a power struggle than a negotiation. There is no way even the most competent, qualified nurse can walk in off the street and provide excellent care while struggling with issues such as an unfamiliar computer system, not knowing their fellow nurses or the doctors and ancillary staff, and not being familiar with the equipment or knowing where to locate supplies. A hospital with it’s regular staff is a well-oiled machine. A hospital operating with scabs is like yanking a couple of cogs out of that machine and allowing the oil to dry up. It cannot function properly and for the benefit of the patients, which ultimately should be the main concern of the hospital administration, not just that of the nurses. These nurses are not a bunch of greedy individuals striking for their own benefits. They are striking for a work environment that provides them with the equipment, supplies and staffing that allows them to give the best care possible for their patients, and for the respect and compensation they so richly deserve. By the way, Mike. Without nurses the hospital ship would most assuredly sink.

  18. Like I said you think you do it all. You are outside and the hospital is still standing so you tell me how we need you. We are just going to hire new nurses to replace you old ones over time and lose the old ones. Tell me that it would be fair for you all to get a rasie why the rest of us get nothing. there is 1500 of you and 8000 in the healthsystem. Wake up and stop dreaming. Temple does not have the money.

  19. Well that clears up everything. Bottom line: Mike’s not getting a raise and if he can’t have one no one should. And as for having the money, Temple is putting out far more in strike-breaking cost than it would have cost to settle and avert a strike. It’s not about money. It’s about power.

  20. @Mike…In addition to the remedial writing class, perhaps you should also take a refresher in simple mathematics..You state that Temple does not have the money but, they’ve spent close to 10 million dollars on replacement staff which includes food, lodging, transportation, hell even their laundry is paid for by Temple. Contracts for both TUHNA and TAP combined could have been settled for 4 million dollars over 4 years. I am sorry that Temple has not given you a raise, hiked up your insurance premiums, yanked benefits that had been promised to you, and you are without recourse. However don’t be resentful of the staff that has the legal right to collectively withhold services until we’ve reached an agreement. I sincerely hope that you or your family never encounters a nurse that feels she is not worth more than ten dollars per hour, and is unhappy with her work conditions and health insurance.

  21. Everyone, please stop responding to Mike. Do not waste your time. God bless him and his family….. I hope the nurse caring for him or his child some day is as compassionate as he….

  22. Yo Mike, get your head out of Gomberg’s A.. I think it’s time to wake up. Nurses save lives.. You dam right they deserve a raise…

  23. Stanford Nurses Support you! I am proud that as an American Citizen and as a woman, we have the right to strike and stand up for our rights. California would not be leading the nation in pay and working conditions(we were the first in the country for the ratio law) if it were not for strong union presence. We are setting the standard for the rest of the nation. Stand tall, Stay strong, and together as one, we will overcome the “last, best and final offer”.

  24. Temple Health system’s offer is not about money it ia about treating all employees equitably, when the nurses won unlimited sick time accurals in a prior contract the fair and equitable thing to do was to give that to all employees. Now the union asks for their employees to be treated better then every other health system employee, if no one else is getting raises why should one group demand them? If all other employees are paying the new rates for insurance why should the nurses not pay the same rates. The miss guided impression the union presents is that Temple always offered tuition to dependents to go any where they want, when in fact the original tuition benefit was to allow the dependent to attend Temple and only Temple

  25. Hei LONGTIMETEMPLEEMPLOYEE, the union members would negotiate for tuition at Temple and Temple only, but even that is not longer available. I have been at Temple for over 16 years waiting for my kids to grow up, now the rug is out from under me. Not to mention the fact that the tuition benefit was still in our contract when they decided to cancel it in the middle of the school year, and people had to scramble to get loans and so on. Two separate courts ruled that Temple has to make the people whole, but they still refuse to comply.

    And as far as raises and financial stuff, Temple would not even talk unless we accept the gag clause, and would not discuss patient ratios and safe staffing which in turn guarantees safe patient care. Their stand is that it is not the business of the union to negotiate for such a thing. That is why we are on strike, not for the raise. Most professionals are happy with what they have, and I am sure would be flexible on the financial, if the other things that Temple refuses to talk about would be settled.

  26. Mopie The tuition benefit comes from the ability of an educational institution to allow an employee and their family to use the “excess” capacity. This is why tuition is a taxaable benefit to Health System employees while University employees do not pay taxes when the utilize this benefit. My wifes job offers her a tuition benefit that requires year for year commitment of her time to the job after she finishes her degree, so if she goes to school for 3 years she has to work for them for 3 years after she finishes using the benefits. Also most tuition programs require you to maintain a certain level of accomplishment say a “C” average Temple had no such requirement for the tuition benefit.

    The union rejected an offer that did not include the “gag clause” when proposed because the raises, which were in the middle of the amounts offered by each side, were not high enough.

  27. The union also rejected said offer because staffing ratios and other things were not addressed…please there are not one or two or even three issues involved…when will anyone in that place address the patient safety issues that now all thinking patients with choice will be considering before ever returning to care there???????
    This strike is going to have repercussions well beyond this contract…it never should have happened and clearly, from the article on staffing ratios impacting the number of deaths in the Inquirer recently. MS. Gomberg seems to think that it is not real important…the stats can’t be right….math appears to be a puzzle to her…………….counting the additional lives implementing this policy will save must not be an important task to Temple….but it is to your patients and their families and I would think it should be to all health care professional in all positions in that health system. I am truly disappointed in the lack of response to these issues, which are really some of the more important one in this power struggle….

  28. Actually LongTimeTempleEmployee, Temple does require a B average to pay the tuition. Again you are misinformed. And the gag order was removed only under the condition that the union accepts everything else Temple dished out, including no wording about staffing ratios. I guess you forgot we are out there fighting for better patient care. We actually do care about the outcomes of our future patients you know. The article in the Inquirer proves again that we are fighting the good fight. So unless you have first hand knowledge, please do not make untrue statements. Or if you do have first hand knowledge, than do not continue to mislead the population with Temple propaganda.

  29. And guess what! Another court decided today to deny Temple’s request for a stay on the payments of the tuition that was in our contract. So Temple, get ready to cough up a load of money to make up for what you were not doing even though you promised to do.

  30. IMHO… This is a ridiculous strike that should never have happened. I have been working at this hospital for 3 and a half years in an anon grad healthcare prof program and I would just like to say that IT IS true that the ancillary staff temp workers are hit or miss, but have been doing an outstanding job in only 3 weeks at a new hospital. Now, that being said, it is sad to see so much of our staff gone to the wayside over extra dollars a month that in this economy right now and with the numbers of uninsured patients that Temple takes care of given their North Philadelphia location to afford paying. I mean seriously, how can a hospital who takes care of >20% of patients who are ‘self pay’ afford some of the highest nursing salaries in the state?

    I think Ronald Raegan did something in the 80’s if I remember correctly when air traffic controllers went on strike that maybe these nurses should learn from.

    Suck it up shut up and get back to work. Or risk looking for work. You have a great benefit package and work 36 hours a week.

  31. Yet another poster who thinks everyone should shut up and do their job? Tell me have you looked into the unions/nurses and professionals proposals for improved patient care…are you aware that the state is considering making at least one of these law anyway? Can you enumerate these issues and tell me how and when Temple will address them?? Until these issues are addressed perhaps it is in everyone’s best interest to steer clear…patients, professionals and doctors, a lot of the information out here and the answers Temple has given are nothing if not fodder for a good attorney to question any care there that does not have the best out comes…just a thought…………….

  32. This strike is not looking good for the nurses. Please tell everyone to just go back to work, its not worth risking ALL!. Patient safety-bla, bla, bla, Look out for yourselves and your lively hood. Later on you can seek employment elsewhere, where you think the benefits are better.

  33. To all, I just want to show my support of the nursing skills of some of the replacement workers. Although I am on the other side of the state, I know of many of our nurses that have gone to work at Temple during the strike. I have to say that they are all very experienced in a prestigious hospital. Many of them work in the ICU’s. It is true that they may not know the computer aspect or where supplies are, but it is no different than getting pulled within our own hospital. I do understand and sympathize with the plight of the Temple staff. However, in this difficult economic time, why shouldn’t one be profitable and go make some much needed extra money while doing what we all went into nursing for and that’s patient care. After all, the patients are most important. I just don’t think that the replacements should be so criticized without knowing where they are from or their experience level.

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