MNA Regional Council 4
Chair Patricia Comeau, Methuen School Nurses Chair
Vice Chair Brian Zahn, Lawrence Public Health Chair
Treasurer Marsha Froburg, Anna Jaques Hospital
Secretary Maureen Travis, Wilmington School Nurses Chair
Other Members of Regional Council:
Jeanine Burns, Northeast Health Systems Co-Chair
Tracy Fernald, Bedford Public Health Chair
Marie Freeman, Northeast Health Systems Co-Chair
Judith Gross, Northeast Health Systems, Addison Gilbert Hospital
Kay Marshall, Anna Jaques Hospital
Tamara Normand, Gloucester Public Schools Co-Chair
Francine O’Connell, Salem Hospital Co-Chair
Norma Ouellette, Lawrence General Hospital
Charles Palmer, Tewksbury Hospital DMH, Unit 7 designee
Kathryn Renzi, Merrimack Valley Hospital Co-Chair
Patricia Sullivan, Lawrence General Hospital Co-Chair
We thank Mary Wignall, recently retired from Salem Hospital, who served on Regional Council 4 for 7 years and continues to knit the most beautiful and bountiful hats and mittens for kids in need throughout our Region.
Staff: Peggy O’Malley, Office Manager
Region 4 Community Organizer.
Lainey Titus served Region 4 so well from November 2009 until March 2012 when she took a new position as Associate Director in the Legislation Division at MNA in Canton.
We miss her, thank her, and look forward to a new organizer for our Region.
News from Our Bargaining Units:
Anna Jaques Hospital, Newburyport- 279 nurses - Co-Chairs: Lisa Cyr-Wilmot and Christine Williams.
Our current contract expires December 31st. The committee sent out a survey seeking proposals from our members and is now reviewing the results to determine the needs of the bargaining unit for the next contract. The hospital construction continues with some beautiful results already visible.
Bedford Public Health - 5 nurses - Chair Tracy Fernald.
Gloucester Public Schools – 10 nurses - Co-Chairs Tamara Normand and Janet Dickinson.
Haverhill School Nurses – 21 nurses – Co-Chairs Anne Orlando and Niki Mulloy.
Negotiating our first contract.
Holy Family Hospital – 395 nurses – Co-Chairs Gayle Burke and Jeff Janco.
Negotiating our first contract.
Lawrence General Hospital – 442 nurses – Chair Patty Sullivan.
Lawrence Public Health – 1 nurse - Chair Brian Zahn.
Contract expired June 2010. No movement. No meetings scheduled. Finances of city remain under state supervision; all other “city side” (non-school department) unions also without contracts.
Merrimack Valley Hospital – 133 nurses - Haverhill; Co-Chairs: Kathy Renzi and Claire Walsh.
We have two new Labor Associate Directors: Deb Rigiero and Dana Simon. Our current contract expires September 30. No dates for negotiations have been set yet but the bargaining team will meet soon to move forward. Poor staffing persists along with frequent opening and closing of multiple floors to consolidate with obvious negative impact on patient satisfaction.
Methuen Public Schools – 11 nurses - Chair Patty Comeau.
Dates set to start contract negotiations at the end of September.
Northeast Hospital Corporation (Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester, Beverly Hospital) – 635 nurses - Co-Chairs: Marie Freeman and Jeanine Burns
Election of Negotiating Committee held with more candidates than openings. 4 open seats on Labor Management; one person elected; two others appointed. Current contract expires December 2013. The hospital is investing in Safe Patient Handling equipment and training. Expect lots of changes with Lahey.
North Shore Medical Center – 551 nurses - Co-Chairs Fran O’Connell and Joanne Raby.
We have recently ratified a 2-year contract for 2011-2013 with a 1% across-the-board raise effective October 1, and a 0.5% bonus based on 2011 wages effective on ratification. Minimal changes in contract language.
Unit 7 - RNs and Health Care Professionals of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:
Fernald Developmental Center in Waltham – 57 members
Hogan Regional Center – 45 members
DDS (Department. of Developmental Services) Northeast Region Office in Danvers – 26 members Tewksbury Hospital Department of Mental Health – 69 members – Chair Charles Palmer, Tewksbury Hospital Department of Public Health – 151 members – Chair Alan Gosselin,
DDS Metro Region (Waltham) – 20 members
Wilmington School Nurse – 12 nurses - Chair Maureen Travis.
We have been without a contract for 12 months despite negotiations since February 2011, several unsuccessful mediation sessions with a representative from the State Labor Relations Board. We have a fact finding date of October 5. MNA placed a full-page ad in the local newspaper clearly defining the nurses’ main issue: All other licensed professional educators in the school district are paid on a separate, higher pay scale than the school nurses, who are required to be certified both as educators and as school nurses. Our goal is pay equity. School nurses attended the school committee meeting on Aug 29 and attempted to hold signs in our laps in the front row but were told by the chairperson that signs were not allowed inside the meeting. Signs are only allowed to be held outside on the sidewalk. Our Associate Director, Ted Burke researched this claim and found it invalid so we have filed a charge of prohibited practice against the school committee.
We are extremely proud of the 2 MNA Award recipients from Region 4 this year:
Catherine Spencer of Lawrence General Hospital- MNA Excellence in Nursing Practice Award
Janise Cashman, recently retired from Anna Jaques Hospital- Elaine Cooney Labor Relations Award.
We have regular participation in monthly Regional Council 4 meetings by a majority of the Chairs of our bargaining units and At-Large members. Regional Council 4 leaders also participate in quarterly Region Summits in which leaders of all 5 Regions, as well as the MNA President and staff, address issues of common concern.
To encourage leadership development, we are providing financial support to up to 75 of our members to attend the MNA Convention in Springfield.
In collaboration with MNA staff, our Region has developed a document, now available to our school nurse bargaining units, with contract language of all the MNA school nurse bargaining units, organized by topic, for reference by school nurse committees as they prepare for contract negotiations.
Legislation and Political Action
This year, Region 4 members participated in consistent efforts to achieve the MNA’s legislative and political agenda. We met with our own State Senators and Representatives educating and advocating their wholehearted support of our Patient Safety Package of legislation, which included the Patient Safety Act, an Act Prohibiting Mandatory Overtime and Workplace Violence Prevention, two of which are now the law in Massachusetts.
Region 4 school nurses actively engaged their legislators on the health needs of students and the need for pay parity for school nurses in line with their educational professional peers. The Wilmington School Nurses continue their campaign for this pay equity by sharing compelling educational material on the issue to the School Committee and to Wilmington citizens via public communications. We will continue our efforts in the pursuit of passage of legislation introduced this past session to improve nurse staffing through school funding methods and require a nurse in every school.
The Chairs of two of our School Nurse bargaining units, Patty Comeau and Maureen Travis wrote letters to the editors of local papers advocating for the passage of a bill calling for all employers to allow employees to earn Paid Sick Days. They shared the experience of seeing sick students sent to school because parents have no paid time off to care for them.
Nurses from Region 4 joined with hundreds of nurses and supporters from around the country in the pre-Christmas demonstration outside Cerberus/Steward corporate headquarters in Manhattan to protest the company’s shameless pattern of breaking its promises and employing oppressive management practices that harm patients and nurses in the Steward hospitals, which include Merrimack Valley and Holy Family Hospitals.
Nurses of Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester and Beverly Hospital joined with residents of Cape Ann, and our elected officials, including the Mayor and City Council of Gloucester, Rockport Selectmen, Congressman John Tierney in a public hearing held by the Mass. DPH on the need for the DPH to impose a condition on its approval of the affiliation/merger of Northeast Health Systems with Lahey Clinic mandating the continuation of essential acute care services needed for a full emergency department on Cape Ann. Subsequently, DPH insisted upon a 3-year continuation of all services at AGH, a community health needs assessment of Cape Ann, and an in-person report back to DPH in 2 years on future plans for AGH.
Regional Council 4 continued its collaboration with the North Shore Labor Council, the Merrimack Valley Labor Council, and the Jobs with Justice coalition on shared priorities, including resisting moves against public employees. Region 4 members attended the Annual North Shore Labor Council Legislative Dinner in June to network with other labor activists and our legislators. Elizabeth Warren, candidate for US Senate spoke and personally spoke with the young nurses present who were energized to become even more politically involved.
Ten nurses from Region 4 went to the May NNU Staff Nurse Assembly in Chicago where they joined the Day of Action on the eve of the G-8 and NATO summits to promote the Robin Hood tax on the banks and highlight the fight against austerity measures harming families around the world.
Region 4 nurses actively lobbied our state legislators on the state-wide need for Taunton State Hospital to remain open as a critical component of mental health services which are inadequate to the needs we see every day.
In fiscal year ’12, we provided nearly 100 members up to $100 per member in reimbursement of costs of continuing education, certification or advanced practice nursing. We continue to fund this very popular benefit which supports the professional development of our members, especially those pursuing continuing education in specialty areas.
Eleven Region 4 members applied for the five Region 4 scholarships this year including 5 members pursuing BSN, 4 pursuing MSN and 2 pursuing their doctorates in nursing. We are proud of all of the applicants and announce the following five have been awarded a $1,500 scholarship from our Region:
Jennifer Burke, Tewksbury Hospital, Department of Public Health, pursuing MSN
Julie Crocker-Wilson, pursuing BSN
Charlene Richardson, Massachusetts Nurses Association, pursuing MSN
Kathleen Murphy, Brigham and Womens Hospital, pursuing PhD.
Kristen Robishaw, pursuing BSN
A sixth Region 4 member, Cara Velmure, has been awarded the Rosemary Smith Scholarship.
The Region 4 Education Committee, with the assistance of MNA Nursing Education staff, planned and presented 6 very popular CE programs between last Fall and Spring with 3 more this Fall. We have already scheduled 3 programs for Spring 2013.
We offering our members six weeks of class/workshop in Stress Reduction led by a very experienced teacher and guide, Ellen Skryness, Med, MPH, in our Region office.
We contributed $500 to each of four local organizations: My Brothers’ Table in Lynn, Cape Ann Food Pantry and Open Door in Gloucester, Bread and Roses Food Pantry in Lawrence, and the Merrimack Valley Food Bank in Lowell.
We donated $500 to the “Santa Fund” of Lawrence Eagle Tribune, proceeds of which are distributed by the local Salvation Army center.
Anna Jaques Hospital RNs held a successful post-holiday food drive in Newburyport to replenish food pantries’ supplies. Later in the winter, RNs from Lawrence General Hospital conducted their own successful food drive which was greatly appreciated by both donors and recipients in the community served by LGH.
Every winter, we continue to collect hats, scarves, mittens and gloves, many of them handmade, and distribute these to the nurses in our now-five school districts and through the Lawrence Public Health Department, to be given to kids and teens in need