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Fast and Loose With Our Contract

UPDATE (Jan. 24): We had our Step 2 grievance hearing this morning, argued by President Bill Garrity, 1st VP Ivonne Hamm, Chief Steward Jean Morningstar, and junior steward Gloria Valentino (CN2).


(Note: This originally was posted on the UHP Facebook page. See the post and comments.


A month or two ago, in one of our normal biweekly meetings with Human Resources, Karen Buffkin asked us what we thought about bringing in new hires at a CN3 (Clinical Nurse 3) level. For those that might not know, we have a clinical ladder system at UCONN Health. A system that was first put in place and first mentioned in our 1994 contract.

Without hesitation we said to her, absolutely not. We listed a host of reasons this was a bad idea. First, we said, you’ve actually denied CN2 nurses who’ve applied in the past. To just now, say any nurse coming into the institution can start at a CN3 level is unacceptable to the union and will cause an uproar with the current nursing staff at UCONN Health.

The process to obtaining your CN3 designation is a journey and a learning process. An applicant needs to first find a sponsor, that is already at least 1 level above them on the clinical ladder and can vouch for their skills. The applicant needs to meet a higher level when it comes to continuing education. The applicant needs to write multiple case studies of showing how he or she has advanced from novice to expert in their skills and practice. They must provide an educational opportunity for their co-workers, and the must go before a Clinical Advancement Review Board.

At that point in time, we believed we were done.

Late last week we got a call and an email stating UCONN Health has now hired nurses at the CN3 level. Ivonne and I called both Caryl Ryan, Vice President, Quality and Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer(interim) and Karen Buffkin the Vice President of Human Resources. Both of whom believe it is in their management prerogative to hire at a CN3 level. As such they have offered positions in both the OR and on Med/Surg 5 at the CN3 level.

Since then we’ve received multiple calls, texts and emails on this issue. From nurses that are CN2’s and CN3’s alike. Not one person that has contacted us on this issue is in favor of this. We are trying to get ahead of this and get as much info out as we can. UHP does not believe they have that right. We feel this is a direct violation of our contract (Article 29). We have since filed a grievance for all current nurses on the clinical ladder here in UHP. At current check, that could be as many as 550 nurses.

Stay tuned in the newsletter for more information.

Pictured is my CN3 pin that I earned several years ago. I had to continue my CEU’s, I had to provide educational opportunities for my co-workers. I had to work for it every year. If I had not continued to do the work, it would have been taken away, as some current members had it happen to them. This is an insult to our process, our contract, and the nurses already here.

Do you feel valued?

Does your CN3 mean anything anymore?




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