Frequently Asked Questions About Striking
Who determines whether or not there will be a strike?
The CRONA membership. CRONA’s Bylaws call for a 2/3 vote (or 66.6%) of the entire membership to pass a strike vote. If you do not vote, it is a “No” vote.
Who decides whether to have a strike vote?
The CRONA Executive Board, with input from the Negotiations Teams, decides to call a strike vote if the Board determines that the negotiations are not making significant progress.
When would a strike begin?
If the CRONA membership votes to authorize a strike, then a strike could begin ten (10) days after the CRONA Executive Board issues a formal strike notice to the hospitals.
Why call a strike?
Like you, the CRONA Board and the Negotiating Teams are committed to caring for our patients. We are not eager to strike. If management will agree to a contract that includes the wages, benefits, and working conditions we need to recruit and retain world-class Nurses and combat chronic understaffing, we will not need to strike. But in the long run, we feel more harm will be done to our patients if real progress is not made to address the issues on the table, including providing a competitive compensation, retirement, and retiree medical benefits package; maintaining important protections for part-time positions and voluntary precepting; and protecting Nurses from workplace violence and inhumane long distance multi-site assignments and floating. We have tried to resolve these issues at the bargaining table. A collective action is the strongest statement that we can make.
Who will care for the patients while I am on strike?
If the CRONA membership votes to authorize a strike and the Executive Board delivers a strike notice to the hospitals, the hospitals will have at least ten (10) days before a strike begins to address patient care. CRONA’s Contingency Committee will also offer to meet with the hospitals to discuss staffing the nursing units, but there is no guarantee that the hospitals will accept our offer.
You may also work as a traveler/registry nurse at other hospitals, to which many of your patients may well be transferred.
Will there be a picket line this time if we strike?
Yes. We will need to hand out information to the other employees and the community explaining our issues.
Can I be fired for striking?
No. You can only be fired for misconduct on the picket line, i.e. violence or threats of violence. The hospital can permanently replace you, but CRONA will insist that an amnesty agreement covering the return of all CRONA Nurses be part of any settlement that is made. CRONA will insist that this will include the return of Nurses to their units, shifts and commitments.
I am a new hire and in the trial period. Can I strike?
Yes. You are a member of CRONA and CRONA will insist that you will be covered by any settlement. CRONA will insist that an amnesty agreement covering the return of all CRONA Nurses be part of any settlement that is made, including Nurses in their trial period.
Can management lock us out if we strike?
Yes. Management has the right to lock employees out, just as we have the right to strike. However, a lockout cannot be selective and they would have to lock out all of the approximately 3,700 CRONA Nurses.
What can I do in the meantime before a strike?
Show management that we are united. Wear your CRONA buttons and CRONA lanyards. Use your CRONA pens. Read the flyers that are posted on your unit CRONA bulletin board. Attend the CRONA meetings. Sign up with the nurse registries and/or apply for a per diem job at other hospitals.
To prepare for a possible strike, you should ensure you have copies of your recent performance evaluations and obtain your immunization and TB testing records from Occupational Health. (Occupational Health at firstname.lastname@example.org. Main hospitals: 650-723-5922. Redwood City: 650-721-7316.)
Can I cash out my PTO to support myself during the strike?
No. PTO can only be cashed out upon termination of employment.
I am currently on disability leave. Will I still be covered if we are on strike?
Yes. The hospitals will not have any say over any insurance that is covered by the State such as State Disability Insurance (SDI).
What about short term disability (STD), long term disability insurance (LTD), Accidental Death and Life Insurance?
You will need to pay your own premiums. Call these companies so they can bill you directly:
- Questions about Leaves of Absence – The Hartford (replaced Matrix as of 4/1/2019) https://abilityadvantage.thehartford.com, SHC: 800-524-8504, LPCH: 866-432-6721
- Short and Long Term Disability (existing cases from before January 1, 2019) – Liberty Mutual libertymutual.com, 800-320-7585
- Short and Long Disability (new cases after January 1, 2019) – The Hartford https://abilityadvantage.thehartford.com, SHC: 800-524-8504, LPCH: 866-432-6721
- Life Insurance or Accidental Death/Dismemberment – The Hartford https://abilityadvantage.thehartford.com, SHC and LPCH: 888-563-1124
What about worker’s compensation?
The hospitals cannot withhold payments because worker’s compensation is required by the State.
What happens to maternity leave status if we strike?
If you are already on an approved leave when a strike begins, your leave should not be affected. If you have a child during the strike, you should remain eligible for State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL). These are state programs that the hospitals do not control.
What will I do about medical benefits?
If you work one day in a month, your current medical insurance is effective through the end of that month.
If a strike lasts beyond the end of the month in which it begins and the hospitals discontinue medical coverage, you will have the option to pay for continued coverage. Under the federal COBRA law, you can purchase medical benefits for up to 18 months at the employer’s group rate. You can call VITA, the hospitals’ administrator of COBRA, at 650-810-1480 or 844-231-5331. More information can be obtained from www.vitacompanies.com.
If you currently are covered by a health plan through SHC or LPCH and you have the option of joining a spouse’s health insurance plan, being on strike beyond the end of the month the strike begins should count as a “qualifying event” that should allow you to be added to your spouse’s plan. Ask the administrator of your spouse’s plan how to be added to that plan.
Does using PTO or taking an “A” day count as working one day in the month for purposes of health coverage?
The answer depends on an interpretation of the medical plan documents. CRONA would argue that using approved PTO or an “A” day during the month should entitle you to health insurance coverage through the end of the month, but CRONA cannot guarantee that the medical plans would be interpreted this way.
I have pre-approved PTO during the strike. Will I receive my pay for this time?
Pre-approved PTO that starts before or after the strike can be canceled only if this cancellation policy is applied to all CRONA-represented Nurses. In most circumstances, such a policy would also have to be applied to management, support and ancillary personnel, and other departments. CRONA will file unfair labor practice charges if such a policy change is applied in a discriminatory manner.
Will I be paid for pre-approved education hours?
Like pre-approved PTO, pre-approved education hours can be canceled only if this policy is also applied to all CRONA-represented Nurses, and in most circumstances, to other employees including management, support and ancillary personnel, and other departments. CRONA will file unfair labor practice charges if such a policy change is applied in a discriminatory manner.
I need to earn a full paycheck. What can I do?
All the registries will be very excited to hear that so many nurses would be looking for work. We have posted on the CRONA website and distributed lists of registries and hospitals. Jobs are available. We can work!
Will I qualify for unemployment benefits during a strike?
No. Being on strike does not qualify you for unemployment benefits.
Will I qualify for unemployment benefits if the hospital locks us out before the strike date?
Yes. Call the California Unemployment Office: 1-800-815-9387.
Will my Caltrain Go Pass and VTA SmartPass still be valid during a strike?
Yes, these transit passes are valid for the full calendar year.
Will my parking pass still be valid?
Yes, being on strike will not affect a parking permit you already purchased.
Can I schedule a vacation day or use a sick day on the day the strike begins?
What happens if I am on medical leave on the strike day?
Your leave continues.
Can I work at UCSF or other hospitals during a strike?
Yes, if they are not on strike. UCSF has a better overall compensation and retirement benefits package, and we have lost many Nurses to UCSF. We need to keep our Nurses. This is one reason we are fighting for improved working conditions, wages and benefits.
Should I work at SHC or LPCH through the registry during a strike?
NO! Any time you cross the picket line, you prolong the strike. You will hurt your friends and your co-workers, and yourself, by crossing the picket line to prolong the strike.
Can I go to a required training class (e.g., PALS, ACLS) at the CE Center during a strike?
If CRONA has not established a picket line at the CE center and the training does not involve providing any direct patient care, then you can attend a class at the CE Center during a strike. Crossing a picket line during a strike is grounds for discipline under CRONA’s Bylaws. If you are unsure about attending a particular class, or engaging in any other activity during a strike, ask us directly at email@example.com.
Our pay period will end after the strike starts. How do we get our pay checks?
Direct deposit paychecks should still be deposited. You may have to go to the hospital for the purpose of collecting your pay check if you receive a paper paycheck. Or you can ask that your check be mailed to you or sign up for direct deposit, if you don’t already use direct deposit.
Do I need to inform my manager of my intent to strike?
No. Just show up at the picket line! Your manager will ask you if you will be available to work during a strike. Say NO. This is one tactic that is used to divide the membership.
I am working the shift immediately prior to the start of the strike. What should I do?
Finish your shift and report off to any supervisor on your unit. Remember, the hospital will have had at least ten (10) days to prepare for the strike.
I am scheduled to work the shift when the strike starts. What should I do?
We will be giving you information as the time approaches.
The hospital states that I can resign from CRONA. Is this true?
Yes. You can choose to become a service fee member, but you will still pay approximately the same amount and you will have no voting privileges. This is a technique managers may use to convince you to weaken all of CRONA by crossing the picket line when we are on strike.
What happens if a CRONA member crosses the picket line?
Crossing the picket line weakens CRONA and will have adverse effects on our ability to represent you now and in the future.
In accordance with our CRONA Bylaws, crossing the picket line is grounds for discipline. Discipline can be in the form of monetary sanctions, suspensions, and/or expulsion from membership.
What happens if I resign from CRONA or lose my membership because I cross a picket line?
You will be a non-member and still pay approximately the same fees as members. As a non-member, you will not be able to vote, run for office, or receive a CRONA scholarship.
Can I rejoin CRONA?
If you resign or lose your membership, you may apply for reinstatement after fulfilling all obligations set by the CRONA Executive Board. The CRONA Executive Board decides whether or not it is in the interest of CRONA and its members to reinstate your membership. Monetary sanctions or a reinstatement fee may also apply.
Remember, there is strength in numbers!
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