CALIFORNIA NURSES ASSOCIATION press release
Tenet Healthcare has squandered over $6 million just in the past seven weeks in an ongoing, heavy handed campaign to block its registered nurses from achieving representation with the California Nurses Association, CNA charged today.
In a press conference Wednesday morning prior to Tenet’s annual shareholders meeting, CNA condemned Tenet’s waste of patient care dollars. Tenet is attempting to interfere with its RNs’ democratic rights – and RNs from several Tenet hospitals outlined the consequences for
patient safety, CNA charged.
“These practices make a mockery of Tenet’s pledge to the public and its shareholders that it is taking steps to restore its tattered image, including establishing a cooperative, respectful relationship with its caregivers,” said CNA’s Southern California director David Johnson. “At a time of Tenet’s mounting legal troubles and faltering reputation, such behavior is especially counter-productive.”
CNA also raised questions about Tenet’s announcement today of the appointment of Jennifer Daley as senior vice president, clinical quality. Daley held a similar position in the late 1990s at Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center in Boston during which time the hospital was engaged in substantial cost cutting and changes in its nursing care. “This appointment does not provide any reassurance of a change in direction by Tenet,” said Johnson
Since April, CNA, California’s largest organization of RNs, has filed for federal labor board elections in 19 Tenet hospitals, in addition to five other Tenet facilities where CNA already represents the RNs. “But rather than encourage its RNs to freely exercise their democratic rights to hold a fair representation election, Tenet has embarked on a coercive campaign to pressure RNs to oppose affiliation with CNA including costly legal maneuvers in federal Labor Board hearings in an effort to delay elections,” said Johnson.
Tenet’s $6 million campaign against RNs and CNA since June 1 (conservative estimate):
* The consultants: $5,088,000 dollars in salary, plus $240,000 in expenses.
* The lawyers: $244,000 in legal fees for federal hearings.
* Costs for forcing RNs to attend mandatory anti-CNA meetings: $ 550,000.
A “most chilling” feature of the campaign, Johnson noted, is forcing RNs to attend mandatory anti-CNA meetings, often pulling them away from their patient care responsibilities in hospitals that already are beset with inadequate staffing.
The consultants: A scorecard
Tenet Healthcare has hired approximately 40 anti-union consultants called “persuaders” who misinform and intimidate nurses in order to silence their voice for patient care and erode their support for the California Nurses Association.
These consultants, some of the most experienced and aggressive at their trade, have been assembled from throughout the U.S. Previous clients include such Fortune 500 firms as General Motors, K-Mart, Daimler-Chrysler and Abbott Laboratories.
In Southern California, many of the same consultants were hired to oppose CNA at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley and San Pedro Hospital. At every one of these hospitals, the RNs rejected the consultant’s campaign and voted for CNA representation.
The consultants include:
* James G. Trivisonno, President and Senior Partner of IRI (Industrial Relations Inc.) of Detroit, MI., one of the firms retained by Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Other IRI “persuaders” include Chip Stevers, Greg Passant, Mary Yarborough, and her daughter Gabrielle Yarborough.
* Brent Yessin, of Yessin and Assoc. – a former Vice President of the Burke Group, another anti-union firm which campaigned unsuccessfully against CNA at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.
* Jerry O’Brien and Jim Lauren of MGS Consulting. Lauren, formerly with American Consulting Group, also worked in the campaigns at Long Beach Memorial, Cedars Sinai Medical Center and San Pedro Hospital.
What the consultants do:
RNs are required to attend mandatory one-to-one and group meetings where they are lectured by consultants and supervisors with inaccurate and misleading information about CNA. Frequently RNs must leave bedside patient care or other responsibilities to attend the sessions. Numerous other tactics are also employed, included direct pressure on RNs by their supervisors.
How much are the consultants paid?
Based on invoices from the Burke Group and American Consulting, the hourly rate is at least between $180 and $215 per hour. The calculations here are based at $200 per hour multiplied by half of the 40 consultants working round the clock fulltime. From June 1, 2003 through July 23, 2003, that sum equals $5,088,000 dollars in salary, plus $240,000 in expenses – food, lodging, and transportation.
The Daley appointment
In a new book, Code Green. Money-Driven Hospitals and the Dismantling of Nursing, author Dana Beth Weinberg interviewed a number of RNs who voiced growing dismay with short staffing and their ability to assure quality patient care in the years Daley served as medical director of health care quality at Beth Israel-Deaconess. An excerpt from the book was recently published in a CNA-supported magazine, Revolution, the Journal for RNs and Patient Advocacy. As one RN told Weinberg, “I don’t have any trust in the administration of this hospital now to do the right thing because they’re too focused on cutting costs.” latest comments