GENEVA — Nurses at the Geneva Medical Center University Hospitals say hospital administrators have reneged on a promise made in December 2021.
In a prepared statement, the Ohio Nurses Association said administrators agreed to pay a COVID appreciation bonus in April 2022 to nurses who cared for patients throughout the pandemic.
In a December message to staff, administrators pledged to give nurses and other employees a COVID appreciation bonus from additional federal funding designated specifically for COVID.
Then, in a recent email, the UH administration said union nurses are excluded from the bonus, while other employees notified in December, some of whom had little or no contact. with COVID patients, will receive the bonus later this month, according to the ONA.
Contacted on Wednesday, hospital officials released the following statement: “UH appreciates all of our caregivers who have met the health care needs of our patients throughout the pandemic. Nurses at UH Geneva Medical Center, who are unionized, are paid according to the terms of their collective agreement.
The nurses filed a discrimination grievance last week, as well as an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, according to the ONA press release.
The ONA said hospital workers are questioning the decision to leave out nurses, especially because nurses have been on the frontlines caring for patients and putting their own health at risk since the outbreak began. pandemic.
At the height of the pandemic, nurses were one of the only hospital workers to have regular contact with patients and, in some situations, the only ones with patients at the time of their death.
“The past two years have been extremely difficult for all of us who have directly cared for COVID patients. It was heartbreaking to see them fight so hard day in and day out, but we did it because we care about our patients and want the best for them,” Shannon Sayles RN said. “When the hospital backtracked on its commitment to pay nurses a COVID appreciation bonus, it was offensive. It made me sad that they disrespected the work we had done for the past two years.
Registered nurse Jennifer Johnson said she was proud of her fellow nurses for caring for the community during the pandemic.
“I just wish the hospital would feel the same and take care of their nurses,” she said. “It’s kind of hard to see how nurses who held the hands of dying patients wouldn’t qualify for this COVID appreciation bonus.”
When the unionized nurses demanded an explanation, the UH regional director of human resources and chief nursing officer at UH Geneva, said that although the email stated that the appreciation bonus would be given to “all employees at regular status, including our residents in training, other than executives and above and doctors”, the nurses should have assumed that they were not eligible.