One Nurse’s Advocacy Earns Over 100 Nurses Backpay

One hundred and six OSUNO tenured nurses are named in the final settlement
between ONA and OSU, in total the settlement exceeds $60,000


 Elizabeth DiGiannantoni, RN


Cherri McHolan, RN, who is set to retire at the end of 2022, has spent much of her career dedicated to nursing at The Ohio State University Hospital. Part of this dedication includes strong advocacy for herself and her colleagues, with a prominent example now labeled as the McHolan Settlement.

In 2016, a colleague pointed out a discrepancy on their paystubs regarding the lump sum pay out for nurses at the max of the pay scale. Nurses with greater than 21 years of experience in the 2016 -2019 contract, were at the top of the pay scale and received a lump sum pay out equivalent to 2% of their base salary in lieu of a base wage increase. This continued for all OSUNO contracts between 2016 – 2020.

At the time, Cherri had received a Clinical Ladder 4 promotion, per the OSUNO collective bargaining agreement with OSU, Article 6, Section 5 “As part of the program, the hospital agrees to a base pay increase of four percent (4%) for Clinical Ladder III status, and six percent (6%) more for Clinical Ladder IV status.” For the purposes of all other base raises within the medical center, the base rate of pay had been appropriately adjusted, however, for the purposes of the lump sum pay outs based on the maximum base rate of pay, the corresponding base wage increase was not included, meaning that 10% of Cherri’s pay was not included in the non-discretionary bonus. After investigating, OSUNO found this was true for all Clinical Ladder nurses at the top of the pay scale. Cherri knew this was wrong and filed her first grievance in 2016. The grievance was denied.

In the years following, Cherri began requesting an accurate calculation annually before her lump sum pay out was totaled. Each year, there was an erroneous lump sum payout and each year she filed a new grievance over the issue. In 2019 ONA pursued arbitration on the outstanding grievances. Arbitration was planned in 2020 and delayed due to the pandemic.

OSU attempted to settle with Cherri, making a number of offers that would have made her financially whole. The initial offers unfortunately lacked an important component for Cherri; they didn’t include any of the other 100+ clinical ladder nurses affected by the years on miscalculations. Cherri’s position was simple “If [the settlement] is going to be able to get everybody back pay, I’ll take the deal.” Ultimately, Cherri held out for seven years to ensure all nurses in the bargaining unit would be made fiscally whole. Cherri noticed it only affected the most tenured and dedicated nurses; those who have devoted their career to bedside nursing and who have also chosen to exceed job requirements and contribute to the development of the profession. One hundred and six OSUNO nurses are named in the final settlement between ONA and OSU, in total the settlement exceeds $60,000.