12 votes

What to know about the battle over Fox Valley health care workers now playing out in court

11 comments

  1. [10]
    simplify
    (edited )
    Link
    The title to this story is, unfortunately, not very descriptive so let me summarize what's going on here... Seven healthcare workers at one hospital system in Wisconsin have quit their jobs, all...

    The title to this story is, unfortunately, not very descriptive so let me summarize what's going on here...

    Seven healthcare workers at one hospital system in Wisconsin have quit their jobs, all of them moving to another hospital system for better pay and benefits. The first hospital system that's losing these employees is salty about that (after having refused to counteroffer), and they have sued to stop those employees from working at the second hospital system. A Wisconsin judge has granted the request temporarily, currently in limbo until Monday when further arguments can be made. So as of right now, these employees are NOT free to quit their jobs and start new jobs and if they do show up to work at the new hospital system on Monday, they could face misdemeanor charges. As it stands now, these healthcare workers will not be working at either hospital on Monday.

    More discussion at r/medicine here: link
    More discussion at r/nursing here: link

    13 votes
    1. [9]
      dootdoot
      Link Parent
      I think its worth noting that the court granted an injuction based on the the hospitals claimed risk to patients if 7/11ths of that department left in one day. The injuction is to give the...

      I think its worth noting that the court granted an injuction based on the the hospitals claimed risk to patients if 7/11ths of that department left in one day. The injuction is to give the hospital time to fill those roles.

      3 votes
      1. [7]
        TemulentTeatotaler
        Link Parent
        The injunction doesn't require the healthcare workers to work at their previous hospital and I can't imagine their response would be to return there of their own volition. I'm not sure how the...

        The injunction doesn't require the healthcare workers to work at their previous hospital and I can't imagine their response would be to return there of their own volition. I'm not sure how the injunction would help give that hospital time to fill those roles.

        7 votes
        1. [6]
          dootdoot
          Link Parent
          That was the reason the hospital gave - their hope is probably that the hospital workers would return temporarily for their patient's sake. I don't find that hope as ridiculous as it sounds you...

          That was the reason the hospital gave - their hope is probably that the hospital workers would return temporarily for their patient's sake. I don't find that hope as ridiculous as it sounds you do. Why the hospital didn't give them a raise (for the patients' health) is something I hope the court will explore. It's plausible they serve areas/clients of different means?

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            TemulentTeatotaler
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I don't think it's ridiculous, just more likely to backfire. The employees made their decision to leave with knowledge of their patients and service area and that didn't stop them. An appeal to...
            • Exemplary

            I don't think it's ridiculous, just more likely to backfire.

            The employees made their decision to leave with knowledge of their patients and service area and that didn't stop them. An appeal to compassion should have been done privately at the point they refused to make a counter-offer, not through an attempt at public shaming and compulsion.

            IANAL and IANAHCW, but ostensibly the only thing that changed for those employees is that an employer who refused to make a counter-offer was willing to start an expensive and frivolous (per /r/law's take) lawsuit to prevent them from working in their profession.

            Until they hire replacements? The hospital has had a full month (notices from Dec 21st-Jan 7th) to handle the situation. If they already can't afford competitive pay who would go there now, knowing what the employer is like? Who else at the hospital is going to consider changing jobs?

            I understand and greatly sympathize with the concerns about the patients and community served... I don't think you can call the U.S. healthcare system anything short of tragic. There are lots of under-served areas and other forms of lack-of-access.

            Most of the people I've known who work in healthcare (~4/5) have been great people that chose the vocation because they wanted to help. From the few acquaintances I've heard from, from news or subs like in the OP post, or just inferring from the abundance of travel nurses trading places at inflated rates: there's tension between administration and healthcare workers.

            That's why I think this would be a terrible precedent and why it will backfire. The people at /r/nurses aren't the reason the U.S. pays significantly more for comparable outcomes. They aren't--for my anecdote of the past few days-- the reason a drug increased ~1200% in price in the last three months, making the prescription plan I helped a parent navigating Medicare select a poor choice.

            The precedent being that HCW are responsible for their institutions ability to provide service. And if it isn't they can't leave. And they can't be made to work per the 13th amendment but other pressure can be used to try to coerce them.

            Nurses have had a couple years of dealing with dangerous situations and a good number of kinda crazy and hateful people. I would guess the empathy reservoir is running a little low, and I'd guess that is the sort of precedent they're willing to fight against.

            It ends up being a band-aide that makes the overall situation even worse.

            Teachers are another profession that are paid less than they should be, with passion and young hostages used to balance their decisions. Consider some hypothetical teacher who took a job in an rural location, responsible for 40 kids and lacking supplies being treated in the same way. Maybe that district would function a bit longer, but you'd see fewer people becoming teachers and fewer teachers willing to take jobs in already rough areas.

            12 votes
            1. dootdoot
              Link Parent
              I am not arguing in favor of the original hospital. Certainly everything you are saying is true. But mischaracterizing the original hospitals position undermines the quality of discussion (which...

              I am not arguing in favor of the original hospital. Certainly everything you are saying is true. But mischaracterizing the original hospitals position undermines the quality of discussion (which I'd hate to see on the forum). Which is why I thought it was relevant to add it.

              1 vote
          2. [3]
            simplify
            Link Parent
            If you quit a job, and your now former employer sued to stop you from beginning work at a new employer, would you return to your previous job? What's happening here is that for decades now...

            If you quit a job, and your now former employer sued to stop you from beginning work at a new employer, would you return to your previous job?

            What's happening here is that for decades now healthcare in the US has become and been treated as a for-profit business. This is just the natural progression of that. This is how the free market works, but when the free market is not in favor of the owners of this hospital, they decided to sue to try to keep their employees from leaving. If a hospital can sue to stop their employees from leaving for better opportunities, what kind of precedent does that set?

            5 votes
            1. [2]
              dootdoot
              Link Parent
              Again, the hospital claims it's not about preventing them from getting a new job, but from the majority of a single department leaving on the same day impacting their ability to treat patients.

              Again, the hospital claims it's not about preventing them from getting a new job, but from the majority of a single department leaving on the same day impacting their ability to treat patients.

              1. MimicSquid
                Link Parent
                They had notice from those employees, and an opportunity to counteroffer to keep them. That the hospital didn't is only their own fault.

                They had notice from those employees, and an opportunity to counteroffer to keep them. That the hospital didn't is only their own fault.

                6 votes
      2. NoblePath
        Link Parent
        That judge is…wrong. I don’t see the order, but it flies in the face of every American jurisprudential principle I can think of and smells like judge and hospital person belong to the same country...

        That judge is…wrong. I don’t see the order, but it flies in the face of every American jurisprudential principle I can think of and smells like judge and hospital person belong to the same country club and that makes a difference to the judge.

        4 votes