Dimensions Healthcare System (DHS) has proposed to the Service Employees
International Union (SEIU) that when patient volume on one unit is low and on another
unit it’s high, that nursing leadership should have the flexibility to reassign qualified
nurses to another unit.
DHS has also proposed that if/when an on-duty nurse, service or maintenance worker is
not needed on his/her assigned unit because of low patient volumes and if/when there
are no needs on other units because patient staffing is appropriately safe, the contract
would allow for several options:
1. The nurse, service or maintenance worker could voluntarily take leave; or
2. If the nurse, service or maintenance worker chose not to voluntarily take Paid-Time Off (PTO) or leave without pay, DHS would have the right to cancel their shift
within the following rules:
- a. Cancellation of shifts would occur on a rotating basis within the affected
unit in reverse order of seniority, beginning with individuals on overtime
status, then individuals who are not on overtime status.
- b. Cancellations are for four (4) hours at a time, either at the beginning or the
end of the shift; and
- c. The individual involuntarily cancelled shall have the right to use PTO leave.
Hospitals with unionized and self-represented employees commonly have the flexibility
to determine staffing levels based on patient census and acuity factors as well as from a
lack of work. This includes the right to cancel shifts and call-off employees without pay.
DHS needs to continue to be a good steward of its limited financial resources. It makes no
sense to pay nurses or other employees when there is no work to be performed because
of patient volume and patient acuity.