CRONA Newsletter May 2, 2020
Dear CRONA Nurses,
As we get ready to celebrate Nurse Week 2020 in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, let us remember that this year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing; it is also the World Health Organization Year of the Nurse.
We know where we need to go forward in nursing by looking back to its beginning. During the time of Florence Nightingale, when large numbers of wounded and ill soldiers had been dying in unsanitary conditions and without comfort, the institution of new nursing care practices saved the lives of many soldiers, brought comfort to the dying, and gathered data to guide future practice. Now as unionized nurses, we also have the power of our collective voices to speak more powerfully for patient advocacy and our working conditions than any one of us alone.
CRONA Nurses continue to be resolute in the face of this crisis, and I am proud to represent you as your President.
Colleen Borges, President
Nurses Week Activities
It is even more important this year to recognize and celebrate nurses! The hospital-based celebrations are cancelled so we moved to two alternate times and locations. Following principles of infection control that Florence Nightingale pioneered, we will be having two events for nurses. At each location we will have small prizes; we will also have a limited-edition Nurses Week 2020 button, CRONA t-shirts (sizes limited to remaining stock), and paper copies of the contract. We will adhere to physical distancing and infection control precautions for these events.
Coffee with CRONA at Tootsie’s on Monday Morning, May 4
Start your Monday right with a cup of coffee! We will have coffee and mini-donuts available from Tootsie’s on Monday morning from 6:00 – 9:00 a.m. If you would like a cappuccino there will be a short wait as these are made individually. Make sure you show your badge to redeem your coffee and/or mini-donuts, must be present in person.
Meal at The Melt Wednesday, May 6
On Wednesday, finish your day or start your night with a meal from The Melt. Any CRONA Nurse is welcome to stop by and show your badge to pick up a meal from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. The meal includes your choice of 1) Grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup, or 2) Hamburger and fries.
CRONA would like to give back to those who generously gave to us… both Tootsie’s and The Melt very generously provided free food to nurses and other healthcare staff during the early days of the pandemic and we are pleased to have our Nurses Week celebration of nurses at their locations.
Temporary Workforce Adjustment
The Temporary Workforce Adjustment is in full swing at the same time as elective surgeries are ramping back up. CRONA is actively monitoring the implementation of the TWA, please make sure to notify us if you are cancelled out of turn or for any other issues.
If you would like to review the hospital policies related to mandatory cancellations, floating, and staffing & scheduling, policies for both SHC and LPCH are available on the COVID-19 page of the CRONA website: http://crona.org/covid-19/.
The CRONA contract language on temporary reductions is located in Section 35 for LPCH and Section 37 for SHC. Both contracts are available as searchable PDFs on our website: http://crona.org/.
If you uploaded proof of certification to HealthStream in time for the March 31st deadline and are due to receive the one-time $2000 payment, expect it in your next paycheck.
If your certification test was scheduled prior to the deadline but cancelled due to COVID-91, and you submitted proof of cancellation, you were granted a 45-day extension to take your exam. With the shelter in place extended for another month, some nurses’ exams were again cancelled/rescheduled. CRONA is currently working on an agreement for a further extension for those affected nurses.
If you already uploaded your proof of certification last year in time to receive the $2000 one-time payment last fall, you will not receive another $2000 payment this month. You will start to receive the quarterly payments of $375, starting in July. You will continue to receive quarterly payments as long as you maintain proof of your certification uploaded in HealthStream. Make sure you don’t let your certification expire!
If you missed the March 31st deadline for the $2000 one-time first year payment, you are still eligible to receive the $375 quarterly payments.
Retention Bonus (Retention Incentive Payment)
The language for the retention bonus is in the Tentative Agreements signed prior to ratification of our current contracts. Those agreements are available on the Negotiations 2019 page of the CRONA website: http://crona.org/negotiations/.
The hospitals will pay all Regular and Relief Nurses who were employed at SHC as of the contract ratification date (May 9, 2019) and who continue to be employed at the hospitals until a year from the date of the ratification, a single lump sum payment of one percent (1%) of wages for the twelve-month period beginning on the date of ratification. The payment will be in the second May paycheck, it will not be in the upcoming paycheck.
SHC Ambulatory Nursing Voluntary Time Off Survey
SHC Inpatient and Interventional Platform nurses were sent a survey to inquire about nurses wanting to take voluntary time of in the form of a temporary reduction in commitment, individual days off, or personal leave during the TWA period. Now ambulatory nurses will be sent the same survey. As of the writing of this newsletter, the planned deadline to submit the survey is midnight on Tuesday, May 5. This survey is voluntary to complete, and it is voluntary to request time off. The purpose of the survey is to identify nurses who want time off. If there are more request for time off than can be granted, requests will be granted by seniority. If a nurse takes time off, those days may be taken as PTO, ATO, or unpaid Absent time (Flex No-Pay in API). Any time a nurse volunteers to take off will be counted towards hours of cancellation when determining who is next in line for mandatory cancellation on a per-pay-period basis. The survey will be sent to the work email address of the affected nurses.
It’s Time Card Weekend
Make sure your time card is correct this weekend! With so many changes to schedules, both voluntary and involuntary, it is important to make sure your time card is correct. If you are using ESL/PTO/ATO/unpaid Absent time for school/day care/adult day care closures, ensure your time was recorded correctly. Make sure to notify your manager if your time card needs to be corrected. You do not sign off your time card if it is not correct, but do check back and sign it once your manager makes any needed corrections.
Pro Bono (FREE!) Legal Services for CRONA Nurses
To help healthcare frontline workers protect themselves and their families, the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Justice & Diversity Center are leading a group of Bay Area lawyers and organizations to provide free life planning assistance to those working on the medical frontlines.
Specifically, we are assisting with both: (a) incapacity planning; and (b) estate planning.
Unlike retirement or estate planning, incapacity planning is not something many adults think about. Imagining what might happen if you lose your ability to make your own choices or control your own body can be unpleasant, but during public health crises, incapacity planning can spare your family and loved ones the burden of making impossible choices on your behalf.
An incapacity plan ensures that should something happen to you, your financial, medical, and personal matters will be handled in accordance with your wishes, or by a person who represents your interests.
Pro bono attorneys are available to schedule 1-hour videoconference consultations with you.
During times of uncertainty, an estate plan can bring much-needed clarity by providing clear, written guidance to your loved ones on what should be done in your absence. Estate planning can be complicated at times, however, and difficult for non-lawyers to navigate on their own.
Our hope is that, by helping to clear this one complication from their plates, we can provide some comfort to our medical frontline workers as they continue their daily work of helping people and saving lives.
Experienced trusts & estates lawyer are available to help you with estate planning; please note, however, that estate planning may require more time and/or wait-times than incapacity planning.
How to contact us:
Complete the form online at: www.sfbar.org/life-planning
Safe Staffing is Vital at ALL Times!
Just because the hospitals are trying to save money on labor costs right now does not mean that patient care should be compromised. With additional infection control precautions and visitor restrictions, the nursing work required to care for our patients may actually increase. We must adhere to Title 22 staffing ratios. If your staffing is not sufficient to meet the needs of your patients based on their acuity, your unit is able to go “above the grid”. It is in our contract that the Resource Nurse is empowered to use her/his judgment to make these decisions. If your assignment is not in ratio by both number of patients and acuity, including during all meal and rest breaks, notify your chain of command including the Resource Nurse, manager on duty, and nursing supervisor as needed. Make sure to file an ADO form if your assignment is out of ratio or otherwise unsafe.
Your 403(b) and the CARES Act
As part of the CARES Act passed by Congress in response to COVID-19, you may take a distribution from your 403(b) with reduced penalties/taxes in certain circumstances. In order for our 403(b) plans to allow nurses to borrow from their retirement plans under the provisions of the CARES Act, the hospitals were required to direct Fidelity to make the necessary amendments to the plans. The hospitals recently informed CRONA they have now directed Fidelity to amend the 403(b) plans to allow CARES Act qualified distributions. Please contact Fidelity for more information.
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