Ads by Google Ads by Google

Nurses’ demands remain unmet as LBJ fails to reply to grievances

Nurses on strike in Faga’alu

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Nurses are still waiting — past last Friday’s deadline — on LBJ hospital management to respond to their demands, which included increase in salaries among other things.

This is according to one of the senior nurses who has not returned to work after hospital management appears to be ignoring their grievance letter submitted last week.

Hospital Chief Executive Officer, Moefaauo Bill Emmsley and the Hospital Board had a meeting last week with the governor’s chief of staff, Loa Tuimavave Tauapai Laupola regarding the nurses’ grievances.

The nurses said they also met with Loa afterwards.

The nurses walked out last week from work and were also part of a strike that happened on Tuesday.

In the grievance letter to Moefaauo, they made several recommendations including adjustment to the salaries for the Registered nurses’ manager to receive the pay of $60,000 per annum; Registered Nurses at entry level $50,000; Licensed Practical Nurses $40,000; Certified Nurses Assistants $25,000 and Orderly Clerk at $20,000.

“If staff receives the above pay scale, we will no longer ask for time and a half for overtime, but the regular rate only,” the letter stated.

Furthermore the nurses say they should also receive an annual increment of 1 percent; $500 Christmas bonus or base bonus on hours worked for the year.

Also the option to pay out excess leave by the first pay-period in December or at least pay out half the amount of excess leave and let the other half roll over until March of the following year.

 Nurses said in the letter they would return to work ASAP if the following demands are met by Friday December 23, 2022; (1) when they get their pay Adjustment that was effective December 1, 2022; (2) an excess leave payout; (3) removal of the chief nursing office; and (4) adjustment of the clerk/ orderly salary.”

Regarding staffing, the nurses pointed out that it’s critically unsafe.

The grievance letter outlined the nurse patient ratios in accordance with the National Nurses United, the largest Union and professional association of registered nurses in U.S history recommends the following patient ratios; Medical/Surgical: 1:4; Emergency Room: 1:3; Intensive Care: 1:1; Psychiatric: 1:4; Rehabilitation: 1:4; Labor and Delivery: 1:2 and Pediatrics: 1:3.”

The nurses indicated they are advocating for safer ratios.

Following the strike last week, the hospital CEO said he sincerely listened as their representative went through each concern and recommendations on their behalf.

After the meeting, the CEO directed all of the nurses to return back to work.

In a statement issued by the hospital board, the CEO pointed out his main concern, as he voiced it to the nurses, was to provide continuous safe and quality patient care for the hospital and safety for the employees who remained steadfast.

According to the statement, the CEO further explained there have been several initiatives already enacted in support of the nurse's agenda.

“The CEO was very empathetic towards the nurses and advised them that he will meet with the Board of Directors and senior management in resolving their issues as presented.” However, the statement noted that its  “the CEO's primary responsibility to insure high-quality healthcare and continuous safe patient care is not compromised in accordance to the Conditions of Participation for Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).”

The statement went on to point out that the “walk-out was uncalled for, which exacerbated an already bad staffing situation.

“As the CEO reminded the nurses, he has always had an open- door policy, and they failed to use it to their advantage accordingly.

“But instead, they left their duties, which jeopardized the lives of the patients who are dependent on their services.