Psychiatric RNs win staffing grievance

April 21st, 2017

Appropriate staffing and obtaining coverage for absences have been longstanding issues for NUHW Psychiatric nurses working in Kaiser’s San Diego service area. Citing budget constraints, Kaiser management there has routinely failed to backfill our RNs when they have to be away from work, leaving the remaining nurses unfairly overburdened on a regular basis.

In response to this ongoing situation, NUHW steward Mark Land-Ariizumi filed a grievance that recently led to some major positive developments. After initially being unable to reach a resolution with Kaiser management, we appealed the grievance to step III — the final step of our grievance process before outside arbitration. In the step III meeting, Mark, fellow RN steward Shaun Wheatley, and their NUHW organizer met with local management, human resources, labor relations, and the medical group administrator for San Diego’s psychiatry and addiction medicine services.

As a result of this meeting, local management agreed to meet regularly going forward with a representative committee of RN stewards from San Diego’s clinics to jointly develop a new and fair set of policies and procedures for the service area with respect to RN vacations, backfill, and staffing. These meetings are in their early stages, but the concrete progress so far has been very encouraging, as our nurses are newly empowered to have a direct say in their working conditions and have already succeeded in developing new policy.