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Orlando Health President And CEO Responds To Nurse’s Petition To Stop Pay Cuts

If you do not know the story behind Orlando Health workers being forced to take drastic pay cuts, read this post (Orlando Health, Balancing Bad Financing On The Backs Of Workers) first.

Response from Orlando Health President and CEO Sherrie Sitarik

Sherrie Sitarik - grayWe know a number of team members affected by the announced premium pay reductions have posted a petition requesting that we not implement the proposed reductions. Some have even proposed that nurses stage a walkout to protest these cuts. On the public posting section of the online petition one individual appropriately expressed concern that a walkout could potentially hurt patients, but another posted the comment that if a walkout harms patients it is a “necessary evil.”

We seriously doubt this last comment was made by an Orlando Health team member. This section of the online feature is not limited to Orlando Health team members but is open to any member of the public who wishes to express an opinion. Every member of the Orlando Health team is committed to putting our patients first and we hope and trust that all team members recognize there are better ways to communicate even if they feel strongly about an issue.

We appreciate that this will require a difficult adjustment for those who will be affected by these cuts, but we must keep our eye on the big picture. Our collective responsibility is to maintain the continuing viability of Orlando Health in the interests of all team members and the community we serve. Change will be difficult but change must occur. The reduction primarily affects those team members who consistently work the night shift. Those subject to the most significant reduction currently receive shift differentials which are at or above the 90th percentile of the southeast market, which is above what other hospitals pay, on average, for night shift differentials. The highest shift differentials have been paid on the basis of a grandfathering arrangement which was instituted in 2007. Please remember this change does not impact base pay.

We cannot perpetuate “over the market” pay premiums without regard to the economic realities we are facing. To do so would be to jeopardize the hospital’s ongoing viability and everyone’s job security. By bringing pay premiums in line with the market, Orlando Health will reduce costs by an estimated $18 million annually. Making these adjustments now will save many jobs.

As I mentioned in my recent video, we are beginning the difficult process of implementing our Value Creation initiatives now. This process could take a year, to a year and a half to complete. While we may consider a brief delay in implementing the announced premium pay reductions, we cannot begin the essential and necessary Value Creation process by abandoning one of our first initiatives at the outset. This initiative was developed based upon a thorough economic analysis and meaningful deliberation among a number of stakeholders including nursing team members and we reached a consensus that this would significantly reduce costs and minimize job losses. Again, this one measure will reduce costs by an estimated $18 million a year and making this change now will save jobs.

As I promised in my recent comments, we will begin the process of meeting and engaging with managers and team members to identify and describe the Value Creation recommendations that may apply to them. Managers, physicians and team members will have the chance to:

• ask questions, provide input and share ideas;
• discuss the steps needed to implement process changes; and
• discuss the overall time table for the implementation.

This series of meetings will likely take place over a number of weeks.

Even after these meetings are concluded we are committed to scheduling follow-up sessions periodically as the Value Creation process unfolds. Successful implementation of work process improvements will be dependent upon the ongoing collaboration and cooperation of everyone involved.

I do have empathy for those team members most affected by organizational change. It is not easy and it is not a reflection on you, the quality of your work or your value as a team member. This is by far the greatest challenge Orlando Health has faced in my 37-year career here as a caregiver and administrator. It would be my desire not to make changes that affect team members, both staff and executive level management, but that would be to ignore the new economic realities of healthcare.

As an organization we will remain committed to meeting the healthcare needs of our patients, families and the communities we serve. However, to continue fulfilling our healthcare mission we must adjust to new healthcare delivery and reimbursement models. The actions we take today and in the next year and a half are proactive steps to reduce expenses, increase efficiencies, and achieve quality outcomes without compromising patient care. In addition, they will help ensure our viability for the long term.

After reading this I have a few questions of my own.  Sherrie Sitarik, how much of your pay do you plan to cut?  Does the President and CEO have to take a pay cut to help reduce costs?   What about the rest of the 19 Executive Vice Presidents?

If  you Sherrie are cutting the pay of the workers by upwards of 10% then it would only be reasonable to ask you to take a 10% pay cut as well.

This response does not answer anything.  To me it is a giant middle finger to all of the dedicated workers in the Orlando Health system who are going to be forced into a pay reduction.

If you have not already signed onto to Sarah Collin’s petition please do so now.  Help the working people take a stand against these drastic cuts!

Sign The Petition To The NH Senate To Pass HB595 (VoterID) As It Was Introduced

The NH Senate voted to restrict the number of allowable ID in HB 595 (Voter ID).  The Senate also made some amendments to the bill forcing a ‘committee of conference’ with the NH House.

They want to force polling places to take a picture of you with a digital camera if you do not have an ID. These cameras and training will cost the state nearly $11 million of dollars.   The Senate is cutting $20 million from Health and Human Services yet they want to spent $11 million dollars to buy cameras for every polling place in New Hampshire? What are their priorities if helping the low-income families looses to digital cameras to solve a Voter fraud problem that does not exist.

We need the Senate to come to their senses and compromise with the House to pass HB595 as it was introduced.

My good friend Jess has started a petition online to encourage all of these Senators to change their minds and compromise with the House on HB595.

Sign the petition here

The petition reads:
By Jessica Clark

I am writing today to ask you to go to a committee of conference and support HB 595 as introduced.

Making it harder to vote by restricting the number of IDs that were acceptable just one year ago isn’t fair and doesn’t make any sense. I ask you to restore all of the IDs that were acceptable in 2012 to get a ballot.

I also don’t want a mugshot of me or my neighbors if I only have one of the very few IDs that are acceptable. It will only cause long lines and cost us millions of dollars.

You are fighting for an unnecessary law that will cost New Hampshire $11 million in the short term, while at the same time you are drastically cutting essential health services for the elderly and disabled. You have misplaced priorities. You should be working to help Granite Staters instead of attacking voting rights in our state. The right to vote is important – no one should take away my right to vote.

THE ACTION, a Grassroots Organization Delivers Petitions To Congressman Bass

A grassroots organization called ‘THE ACTION’ is a movement by people who demanding an end to the Bush Era Tax Cuts to those making more that $250,000 dollars aka the 2%. Today they focused their actions on Congressman Charlie Bass.

Congressman Bass may have lost his re-election bid, but he is still representing us in Washington as the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations begin. Today, activists delivered a petition urging Bass to support an up-or-down vote on continued tax relief for 98% of Americans and 97% of businesses and sang Christmas carols at the Nashua office of Rep. Charlie Bass in Nashua.

A ‘discharge petition’ is currently being circulated in the House of Representatives and would give the House a chance for an up-or-down vote on a $2,000 tax cut for 98% of Americans.  Voters across the state have signed a petition urging Rep. Bass – who has long advocated for low taxes and middle-class economic health – to demonstrate his support for both low taxes and the middle class by signing the discharge petition and voting in support of the Senate bill.

Pres. Obama has advocated starting the process of getting the nation’s budget house in order with this measure. “Let’s begin our work with where we agree,” the president said, observing that the Senate has already passed the bill and that both parties agree that increasing middle-class taxes would hobble the recovery.

“If we can get a few House Republicans to agree as well, I’ll sign this bill as soon as the House sends it my way.”
(CNN.com “GOP divide over Obama tax plan goes public,”  Tom Cohen, November 28, 2012).

We need to bring more attention to the obstructionism that is currently occurring the US House.  We need a truly bi-partisan approach to solving this fiscal dilemma.  We all can agree that our country has a fiscal dilemma, the difference only seems to be how to resolve this dilemma.

Congressman Bass should listen to his constituents by voting to end the Bush Era Tax cuts to those people who are making over $250,000 dollars.

New Grassroots Organization Called ‘The Action’ Launches Petition For A Vote On Middle Class Tax Cuts

Grassroots organization launches online petition urging Congressmen Bass, Guinta to do their jobs for 98%

Grassroots  group The Action plans to deliver petitions to lame ducks next week

Concord – Congressmen Charlie Bass (NH-2) and Frank Guinta (NH-1) may have lost their re-election bids, but they are still representing us in Washington as the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations begin. Today saw the release of an online petition urging Bass and Guinta to support efforts in the House to bring to a vote a bill, already passed by the Senate, which would maintain tax cuts for 98% of all Americans and 97% of small businesses. Activists will be delivering these petitions to later in the month.

Taylor Coots, state director for The Action (www.theaction.org), the group organizing the petition drive explained the effort.

“An extension for the middle class tax cut is through the Senate, but Speaker Boehner won’t bring it to the House floor for an up or down vote.  It is high time Congressmen Bass and Guinta do the right thing, break with the Speaker, and put New Hampshire middle class families ahead of Washington politics.”

A ‘discharge petition’ is currently being circulated in the House of Representatives and would give the House a chance for an up-or-down vote on a $2,000 tax cut for 98% of Americans.  Voters in New Hampshire are urging our congressmen – both of whom have long advocated for low taxes and middle-class economic health – to demonstrate their support for both low taxes and the middle class by signing the discharge petition and voting in support of the Senate bill.

Pres. Obama has advocated starting the process of getting the nation’s budget house in order with this measure. “Let’s begin our work with where we agree,” the president said, observing that the Senate has already passed the bill and that both parties agree that increasing middle-class taxes would hobble the recovery. “If we can get a few House Republicans to agree as well, I’ll sign this bill as soon as the House sends it my way.”

(CNN.com “GOP divide over Obama tax plan goes public,” Tom Cohen, November 28, 2012 http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/28/politics/fiscal-cliff/index.html).

ABOUT THE ACTION: The Action is a grassroots movement that demands Congress end the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest 2%—those making more than $250,000 per year. The Action is for critical investments that create and sustain jobs.  New Hampshire Citizens Alliance for Action is leading the charge in New Hampshire.

Education Votes Works To Stop Corporate Tax Loopholes

If you follow this blog regularly you know that education is one of our top priorities.  I have three children of my own and their education is very important to me. As a taxpayer funding that education is also very important to me.  One of the biggest problems facing our public education system is how do we continue to support our education system with the necessary resources.

This year we saw massive cuts in funding from the state level in an effort to be “fiscally responsible”.  This increased tuition costs at the University of NH as well as the community colleges.  Many of us also saw a noticeable increase in our property taxes that was caused by lack of funding to the town.  We need to ensure that our elected officials to stand up for the middle class.  We need to close corporate loopholes that are underfunding our national budget.

Education Votes has started a petition to bring attention to the corporate tax loopholes. So “whether you’re an educator, a parent, or a citizen concerned about building a strong middle class” you need to sign this petition.   They have also created a great video showing how these loopholes are hurting our public education.  Help spread the word by sharing this video as well.

Sign the Petition Here

Petition Reads:

Dear Elected Officials,
I urge you to stand up for the middle class and support closing corporate tax loopholes at the federal and state level, so that additional resources can be invested in public education and other services that build our communities.
Corporate tax loopholes are costing our schools and communities resources that would help the next generation achieve the American Dream. At a time when middle class Americans and small businesses are suffering, large, multi-national corporations are earning record profits and paying little to no money in taxes that are intended to support the communities where they do business.
Instead of robbing children of opportunities and services they need to succeed, corporations must invest in future generations by paying their fair share.
  • At the federal level, support revenue positive corporate tax reform by closing the seven largest corporate tax loopholes, which would provide an estimated $1.487 trillion in additional revenues over the next ten-years.
  • At the state level, support legislation that keeps corporations from shifting profits to low-tax burden states and require full disclosure of state and local incentives to corporations to ensure they pay their fair share to the states and communities where they do business.

Show your support for IBEW and CWA Verizon Workers!

The NH Labor News has been following the IBEW/CWA Verizon contract issues for the months now.  First when Verizon refused to negotiate.  Then when they finally started to negotiate their demands were unreasonable.  This prompted the IBEW and CWA unions to go on strike to bring attention to the fact that Verizon makes billions in profits while mandating that their workers take pay reductions and increased cost of health care.  After the strike was called of Verizon promised to negotiate with the Unions to create a fair contract for all.  It appears now that is not happening.  Now there is a small internet petition to show your support for the Workers to get a fair contract.  I have include the petition information below.  I am not sure who started it but that does not really matter.  What matters is the impact they can make.

Please take a moment to read and sign the petition.

Petition: Verizon Communications: Give their employees a fair contract:

Give their employees a fair contract

Over the years, Verizon employees have worked hard and has shown their customers how important they are to them. However, Verizon treats these employees with total disregard to the hard work and dedication that they have displayed. Many Verizon customers rely on this work force to maintain this dedication and professionalism. Verizon needs to bargain fairly, and give these employees what they have surely earned. A fair contract ! Instead of cutting the rights of these employees, they should be rewarding them with the fairness they deserve. If not for these dedicated employees, we would not even be Verizon customers. Tell Verizon to end this stand off and give them a fair contract !

[Your name]”

Save the Union Leader, save jobs, maintain living wages

If you follow this blog regularly you have no doubt heard of the fight between the CWA Local 31167 (Newspaper Guild) and the Union Leader Newspaper.  I would like to take a moment to share with you the Petition that has been created for these workers.  Below is the message on why it is important to sign this petition.  It takes less than two minutes to complete.
Thank you, In Solidarity NH LABOR NEWS

Economic Justice Petition: Save the Union Leader, save jobs, maintain living wages | Change.org: For decades, the people of New Hampshire have relied on workers at the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper to provide them with news and advertising.

In recent years, The Manchester Newspaper Guild, the largest union at the newspaper, has experienced layoffs, forgone pay raises (2 percent), accepted a pay cut (12 percent), and agreed to concessions in areas of sick time, health care, severance pay and full-time employment. All to help our struggling company.

Now, however, the company wants more. It so far has laid off five valuable, experienced employees and cut wages for all others after the union unanimously rejected a second, 10-percent pay cut, other concessions and changes that could make the entire workforce part-time, with few benefits and little job security.

Guild employees put out the newspaper every day. They struggle each and every day to protect the quality of New Hampshire’s largest circulation daily newspaper and wonder if the Union Leader can maintain a workforce of talented, committed employees with continued reductions in salary and benefits. Guild members understand the poor economy and the struggles of the newspaper industry. They live with those issues, and write about them, every day. They are not solved by damaging the livelihood of workers and the quality of the company’s products.

We urge you to sign our petition asking President and Publisher Joseph W. McQuaid to reaffirm his commitment to New Hampshire journalism. Ask him to maintain compensation that attracts and keeps committed journalists and other professionals working at New Hampshire’s largest newspapers, providing the public with the most complete, trusted news and advertising in the Granite State.

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