Lima Nurses Win Arbitration, Thousands of Dollars in Reimbursements

During times of low census, nurses at Lima Memorial Hospital are regularly placed on RAB – a process for eliminating hours of work in increments of two and four hours at the beginning or end of a shift. On-call, and with it on-call pay, are attached to those eliminated hours in the event census reaches a level where the original scheduled nurses are needed.

After years of abiding by this contractually protected practice, managers at the hospital forcibly ended on-call RAB in July 2018 with an erroneous argument and interpretation of contract language. Consequently, Lima nurses were at risk losing thousands of dollars of rightful pay. The Ohio Nurses Association and union leadership were not going to allow the nurses to be robbed of well-deserved money. After fruitless talks at the table, the ONA pushed forward a grievance that eventually landed in the hands of an arbitrator.
In July 2019, a year after the issue rose its head, the arbitrator issued their decision: the nurses deserved to be paid. Lima Memorial Hospital must reimburse the nurses dating back to July 2018, an award of thousands and thousands of dollars.
Congratulations Lima nurses on your win!

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Requested absence day. Request to be placed on RAB or mandated to be on RAB. They are typically a lay-off, occurs when on a low census. Mandated to be on RAB at the end of the shift, the nurse can be rquest to be on-call. So combined two separate languages to be called RAB on-call just in case census changes and they need to come back in.

As of July, if forced to be RABd, then weren’t given option to request to be on call. Instead they RABd them for increments of 2 to 4 hours. Managers used to ask if they want ot be on call.

If on-call and they get called back in, they are guaranteed at least 4 hours pay. Managemnt wanted to change this to 2 hours of guaranteed pay. We ended up keeping 4 hours language, plus nurses got reimbursed from july 2018. Getting reimbursed the 2.85/hour while being on-call.

On July 2018, Lima Memorial Hospital eliminated RAB on-call from collective bargaining nurses. By eliminating RAB on-call, management began to RAB nurses on an incremental bases which took away their on-call benefits. Per contract, nurses are entitled to $2.85 cents while being on-call, if called in, they receive call back benefits of a guarantee 4 hours of pay.

The Ohio Nurses Association warned Management this was a contract violation to RAB nurses on an incremental basis and reimbursement for all affected nurses should take place immediately. Management continued to argue, contract language allows nurses to be RAB in increments. However, nowhere in the contract, under the RAB language, makes this accurate. Increments only apply to the on-call language. Failure to reimburse all affected nurses, the Ohio Nurses Association, proceeded to fight for their rights and have the case heard in front of an arbitrator.

Following the arbitration hearing, the award was granted to Ohio Nurses Association and reads as follows:
AWARD
For the foregoing reasons and conclusions, the Grievance is sustained in part and
denied in part. The Arbitrator has determined that the RAB On-Call practice is not a binding
practice the Employer is required to maintain, and in that regard, the Grievances seeking to
reinstate the RAB On-Call Procedure as practiced by the Parties in the past are denied. The
Grievances are sustained in that the RAB Hours and Procedure Policy established by the
Employer violates the provisions of Article 11, Article 13, and Article 26 of the Parties’
Collective Bargaining Agreement as set forth in this decision. The Employer is directed to cease
requiring RABs to be granted in two to four-hour blocks that require an employee to essentially
be on-call without on-call benefits. Further, the Employer is directed to reimburse all affected
nurses who were Rabbed in increments of two to four-hour increments since July 18, 2018 and
did not receive the benefit of on-call pay as set forth in the CBA. The Arbitrator will retain
jurisdiction of this proceeding to ensure that the Award is properly enforced.