Methodist Medical Center

ChapterLogo_MethodistMethodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge offers patients the high level of quality care, technology and service that you’d expect to find in a nationally leading hospital. That’s because Methodist is a leading hospital but offers patients the convenience of a hometown medical center that is close to the support of family and friends.

Methodist’s high level of patient care has been recognized at the state and national levels: 

  • Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the No. 5 hospital in Tennessee for 2012-2013.
  • One of only 28 out of 1,350 hospitals across the country to receive VHA, Inc.’s Leadership Award for Clinical Excellence.
  • Recognized twice by Forbes.com as one of America’s safest hospitals.
  • Ranked in the top 11% across the nation for core measures.
  • 2012 Platinum Performance Award from American College of Cardiology ACTION Registry for urgent heart care that is 25 minutes faster than the national benchmark.
  • Joint Replacement Center and Thompson Cancer Survival Center at Methodist rank in the top 10% nationwide for overall quality of care by Professional Research Consulting (PRC).
  • One of only 78 hospitals nationwide to earn the Gold Performance Award from the American College of Cardiology’s ACTION Registry.
  • Recipient of The Leapfrog Group’s Spring 2015 Patient Safety award.  Methodist has received “Straight A’s” since the score’s inception in 2012.
  • In 2015, Methodist’s Oak Ridge Breast Center received a perfect score on the FDA’s Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) inspection. This was the 19th consecutive year the center got a perfect score.

These awards recognize our hospital’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for our patients.

SEIU has represented and bargained contracts for registered nurses as well as service & technical employees at Methodist Medical Center since 1966.

A Call for Justice & Action at Issues Forum in East TN!

ACT-EastTN_Forum2018_crowd

A packed house at the “Liberty & Justice For All” forum on the UT campus.

SEIU members were there to lend their support and expertise to the new non-profit, non-partisan organization ACT-East Tennessee Strong United as it hosted its “Liberty and Justice For All” issues forum in Cox Auditorium on UT’s main campus.

The forum was attended by hundreds of citizens and students across East Tennessee as well as political candidates running for state and federal office, including gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean.

Jenna Rasnic, an ER nurse and union leader at Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, was one of the presenters at the forum. She spoke from a healthcare perspective about the opioid epidemic that is tearing whole communities apart. Jenna has been active with ACT since its formation. “I never thought of myself as a leader, but through my involvement in our union and ACT is see that I can be,” she said.

Tracy Fair, a unit secretary and union steward at Methodist was also in attendance. “The most inspiring thing to me was looking at how committed the members of this organization were and their belief that they will and can make a true difference,” Tracy says.

ACT-EastTN_Forum2018_leader

SEIU leaders Jenna Rasnic & Tracy Fair

When the candidates in attendance who are running for state Senate, state House, Congress, and Governor were asked to support the group’s platform if elected, all said ‘yes’.

Many thought that the highlight of the day was a moving sermon by Father Bryant Stewart. “It set my heart singing when he did his call and response saying ‘I will vote’,” Jenna said. “My voice is pretty darn loud, but I got drowned out in the sea of voices! We were a deafening force.”

ACT-East Tennessee plans to continue meeting regularly on the fourth Thursday of each month. Find out more about them at their website or on their Facebook page.

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Hospital Workers Vote to Accept New Union Contract With Methodist Medical Center!

MMC_ContractVote2018Members of SEIU Local 205 voted overwhelmingly to approve two new contracts with Methodist Medical Center, a Covenant hospital.

The vote was the final stage of a process that has lasted over five months. when the previous contracts expired in October 2017. “We are all glad to reach a resolution and appreciate Methodist’s efforts to get there,” said Melissa Wells, a registered nurse and member of the union’s negotiating team.

The two agreements cover over 800 nurses and service and technical staff working at MMC. The terms of the three-year deal include an improved health insurance benefit which lowers deductibles and enhances coverage at Methodist. Beginning next year, the plan deductibles at MMC will drop by $500 for single coverage and drop $1000 for family coverage. After meeting the deductible, services performed at Methodist will be covered at 100%. There will also be no increases in health insurance premiums in the first year of the agreement. “This is a big benefit that will put money in our members’ pockets,” said Sondra Bryant, a nurse and union negotiator.

The agreement also institutes an immediate, across-the-board wage increase, additional raises in October 2018 and October 2019, and a ratification bonus. While there were still unaddressed concerns about a two-tier wage plan the hospital proposed, union negotiators did make some improvements on the proposal. “We will track how that goes over the next two years and will be ready to address any issues in our next negotiations,” said registered nurse Linda Mabry.

During the contract talks, union members mobilized by holding two large demonstrations as well as workplace picketing. “Our members were more motivated than I can remember,” said Sarah Englehardt, an LPN at the hospital. “We were tested along the way, but we held our ground.”

The union also reached out to the community and participated in a Workers Rights Board public forum last week. “Our community support was awesome and it was a big boost to our morale knowing that they were with us,” Wells said.

“We have said it all along and it’s true – the employees at MMC are what make the hospital great,” said Brad Rayson, president of SEIU Local 205. “We are glad to have reached an agreement with MMC, are ready to move ahead and will continue to work with MMC management to provide the best patient care to our community.”

 

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Workers Rights Board Issues Report on Dispute @ Methodist Medical!

Melissa Wells, RN, gives testimony about working conditions at Methodist to the Workers Rights Board.

Melissa Wells, RN, gives testimony about working conditions at Methodist to the Workers Rights Board.

The Workers Rights Board of East Tennessee issued a “summary report of findings” after hearing testimony from hospital staff working at Methodist Medical Center. A capacity crowd of nearly a hundred filled the Oak Ridge Civic Center at the event, which was sponsored by the local Jobs With Justice and Interfaith Worker Justice organizations.

Gloria Johnson, a former state representative and schoolteacher, was one of the Board members who heard testimony about working conditions at Methodist. “The hospital has to make a budget and so do these employees and their families,” Johnson said. “It’s outrageous that Covenant Healthcare has dragged this process on for months in an attempt to wear down their employees.”

  • Transparency: “MMC has not been willing to share what appears to be information that would help both parties reach an agreement”.
  • Pay Proposals: “It is hard to see where setting rates back to what they were 8 years ago is justifiable or wise. Other costs have not gone down, and we heard testimony that some workers at MMC are already stretched to make ends meet… we can’t imagine how workers earning substantially less will be able to support themselves and their families”.
  • Patient Care: “Lower wages can hurt recruitment and retention of the best employees… we applaud the Union’s initiative to implement a collaborative process to address staffing and workload issues on an ongoing basis.”

The Board was also concerned about Methodist’s proposal for a two-tiered wage system which would lower the pay scale for new hires. “Our collective experience with two tier wages is that such schemes create more issues than they solve including the adverse impact on overall morale and teamwork in the workplace [and] the likely pressure to reduce the top tier pay over time rather than raise the lower tier,” the Board wrote.

The Workers Rights Board is a public forum where workers can bring complaints against employers for violating their human and legal rights in the workplace. The Board is drawn from a broad spectrum of community leaders and can intervene with employers and the public to help resolve situations that threaten workers’ rights. Members of the Workers Rights Board of East Tennessee include a doctor, a nurse, an attorney, local labor officials, and several past and present elected officials.
The union contract at Methodist Medical Center – which covers over 800 nurses and support personnel – expired in October but was extended by mutual agreement. The acute care hospital is part of the Covenant hospital chain. SEIU has represented employees at Methodist since 1966. The key issues still separating the parties include:
  • The Union’s commitment to maintaining safe staffing levels and reasonable working hours for all employees;
  • Methodist’s plan to slash wages for new employees;
  • The Union’s call for quality, affordable health insurance which is on par with other Covenant facilities.

Methodist proposes to hire new employees in some classifications at 10 to 20% below current starting pay. Under MMC’s proposal, some new employees would earn $5.00/hr. less and some employees would be paid under $11.00 an hour.

“This is a great hospital and we want to maintain that,” said Sondra Bryant, a registered nurse who has worked at Methodist for 17 years. “Our goal in these negotiations has been to keep quality care, safe staffing ratios and the valuable experience of employees.”

“As a single parent and the primary care giver for my boys, MMC’s proposals have made my family’s life extremely difficult with their mandatory scheduling,” said Brandon Sampsel, an R.N. “I do not believe that being a good parent and a good employee should be at odds with each other. But that is the impact their proposals are having on us.”

The current extended agreement between Local 205 and Methodist runs through February 7, 2018.  The parties are negotiating on February 5th. 

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Hospital Workers Reject Contract Proposal from Methodist Medical Center!

MMC_Rally2017Members of SEIU Local 205 have voted to reject Methodist Medical Center’s contract proposal. The vote came after the hospital gave the union its final proposal last Friday. The current contract expired October 10th but had been extended through November 15th by mutual agreement.

Among the key issues separating the parties were the union’s goal of maintaining safe staffing levels and reasonable working hours; Methodist’s plan to slash wages for new employees; and the union’s call for affordable health insurance on par with other Covenant facilities.

Union members were primarily concerned about what Methodist’s proposal for lower wages would mean for patient care.

“We regularly get ‘short staffing reports’ from nurses noting that our established patient to staff ratios have been exceeded,” said Sarah Englehardt, a licensed practical nurse. “Having enough staff to provide the best care is just common sense.”

“Methodist claims they have a hard time recruiting nurses now, so we can’t see how cutting pay will make that easier”, said Linda Mabry, a registered nurse.

“This was not just about the current workforce at Methodist, but also the next generation of MMC workers,” said Dustin Whalen, unit secretary. “Methodist’s wage proposal would cut incoming nurses’ pay by up to $5.00/hr. Other new employees would face similar cuts. Some staff would start at less than $10.00/hr.”

Union members had already voted to authorize their bargaining committee to give the hospital a notice of intent to strike if an agreement could not be reached. Under federal labor law, the Union must give the hospital ten days’ notice before striking.

SEIU officials will be reaching out to the hospital about getting back to the bargaining table in order to avoid a strike. “We are ready and willing to reach an agreement, but it has to be one that protects our patients, respects our community, and meets our needs,” concluded Sondra Bryant, registered nurse. “But make no mistake – our members are more united and determined than we have seen in years.”

SEIU has represented employees at the Oak Ridge acute care hospital since 1966. Currently there are over 800 employees covered by the union contract.

UPDATE: The current contract has been extended by mutual agreement until January 10, 2018. Negotiations are scheduled to resume right after the new year.

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Hospital Workers Picket Methodist Medical Center as Contract Deadline Looms

MMC_Picket2017Members of SEIU Local 205 picketed Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge this week as an extended labor agreement is set to expire on November 15. The actions come in the wake of a vote taken by union members to authorize the bargaining committee to give the hospital a notice of intent to strike if an agreement cannot be reached.

“We hope it doesn’t come down to a strike, but we are united and we’re prepared to do whatever it takes to get a reasonable agreement with the hospital,” said Sondra Bryant, a registered nurse and member of the Union’s bargaining team.

“This is about our patients and our community, and not just about us,” said Linda Mabry, a registered nurse. “Patient care is always at the top of our agenda, whether it is maintaining adequate staffing levels or making sure employees are rested and alert. Patient care and safety should be non-negotiable, but we’re not sure the hospital sees it that way.”

The union contract covering over 800 employees expired on October 10th but was extended to November 15th. The acute care hospital is part of the Covenant hospital chain. SEIU has represented employees at Methodist since 1966. The key issues separating the parties include:

  • The Union’s commitment to maintaining safe staffing levels and reasonable working hours for all employees;
  • Methodist’s plan to slash wages for new employees;
  • The Union’s call for quality, affordable health insurance which is on par with other Covenant facilities.

“We feel it is important that the public know what is going on at Methodist and the community support has been incredible,” said Dustin Whalen, a unit secretary at the hospital. “Methodist’s proposal to cut wages would hurt our community. These are good jobs that allow us to provide for our families and stimulate economic activity in the area and we can’t see taking this away from our future co-workers,” Whalen said.

Methodist proposes to hire new employees at between 15% to 20% below current starting pay. Under MMC’s proposal, some new employees would start at $5.00/hr. less and some employees would be hired for under $10.00 an hour.

“We are ready to sit down and hammer out a contract that is reasonable and fair. We hope MMC is too,” said Brad Rayson, president of SEIU Local 205.

Read the story at Oak Ridge Today >>

Read the story in The Oak Ridger >>

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Union and Hospital Sign Extension of Union Contract!

MMC_Rally2017For Immediate Release:

(Oak Ridge, TN)  SEIU Local 205  and Methodist Medical Center agreed to a contract extension lasting through November 15, 2017.  The current contracts covering over 800 workers at the hospital were set to expire.

“There are still a number of key issues on the table and this extension will give both sides time to hopefully work through our differences and find common ground,”  said Shanella Hawkins, RN. “Our goal is to reach an agreement that is good for patients, the community and our members.”  The parties have been utilizing a Federal Mediator  to help facilitate contract talks.

On Sunday, around 150 people braved the weather to protest the current state of negotiations.  “Our members have never been more united and determined,” said Sondra Bryant, RN. “We will keep going until we get a good contract.”

“Having so many of our members and supporters be willing to stand out in the pouring rain to voice our concerns and show our solidarity should send MMC a clear message,” said  Kristi Byrge, CT Technologist.

“The community support we have received has been great, and we will keep building and expanding those ties too,” said Sarah Engelhardt, LPN.

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Union Leader Named Employee of the Month @ MMC!

Members_SarahEnglehardtSarah Englehardt, a licensed practical nurse at Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, has been named “MMCer of the Month” (the company’s name for an employee of the month) for June. Sarah, a union representative, steward, and member of the union’s negotiating team, described the honor as “fabulous” and has been with Methodist since 2002.

Sarah has been described by her co-workers as a great nurse and a co-worker that employees enjoy being around. Sarah displays a can-do attitude and often says “we got this” when facing a challenge on the job. Sarah creates tools that save time for nurses when completing databases, she organizes her unit, and she takes pride in the care she delivers.

“Sarah is a champion for bedside shift report and involves the patient in their care every day,” said the MMC employee who nominated Sarah for the award. “Every patient, every family member, every co-worker knows her name. Sarah’s number one priority is the patient. She will be the patient advocate, call physicians and work with case management to ensure that her patients are cared for the best they can be.” Sarah is also considered to be one of the ‘go-to’ people in the hospital for anything to do with the union or the union contract. She does all this while also attending University of Tennessee-Knoxville to complete her RN-BSN degree and while raising a family of five children.

Congratulations to Sarah for winning the June award and thanks for all of her years of service in helping build the union at MMC and representing the membership well!

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We Will Miss You, Sam Price!

Sam Price worked in the Critical Care Unit of Methodist Medical Center.

Sam Price worked in the Critical Care Unit of Methodist Medical Center.

Time is perhaps our most precious commodity, and once it passes, it is lost forever. It is with great sadness that we pay tribute to a wonderful man, inside and out.  Sam Price was an example of greatness in so many ways.  He took each day in stride, always put others first, could put a smile on the face of anyone, and filled the world with love.  He was selfless, hardworking, understanding, and absolutely amazing.  His death has left an empty spot that can never be filled.

Sam was loving and real. He was a wonderful father, grandfather, and brother.  He was also dedicated to helping close friends in Kosovo.  In addition, Sam was a wonderful friend, co-worker, and strong union member.  He was truly the glue that held us together at MMC.  He possessed a gentle and caring nature.  Sam believed in being authentic with people.  He always knew what to say and how to say it.  Sam always fought for what he believed was right.  He was our advocate and a pillar of strength.

While the world suffered a huge loss on December 10, 2015, we have to find peace in the fact that Sam’s beautiful spirit will live on through his family and many friends.

Rest in Peace our dear precious Sam!

Those we love remain with us,

for love itself lives on.

Cherished memories never fade,

Because a loved one is gone.

Those we love can never be

More than a thought apart.

For as long as there is a memory,

They will live on in our heart.

-Author Unknown

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Member Wins “Employee of the Month” at Methodist Medical!

Gary Hughes, unit secretary at Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, TN.

Gary Hughes, unit secretary at Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, TN.

Gary Hughes, a unit secretary for the oncology unit at Methodist Medical Center was named “MMCer Of the Month” in August.

Gary, who lives in Oak Ridge, served in the United States Navy for ten years and is a member of the Ridge Church. He has been with Methodist Medical Center since 2012 and has been a member of SEIU Local 205 since he started working there.As a unit secretary, Gary provides assistance to hospital visitors, patients, and staff as well as handling administrative duties for the oncology unit.

Gary is described by manager Sherry Barnett as “a delight to work with.” “Gary comes to work early and ready to work,” Sherry says. “He has a smile on his face, a can-do attitude, and I hear compliments about his work ethic from other departments. He goes above and beyond every day and you can count on him.”

The employee who nominated Gary says, “he is an asset to this hospital and in particular oncology. He anticipates problems prior to them becoming an issue and not only brings it to management’s attention, he also brings a potential solution.”

“The nurses really love him,” Sherry added. Another co-worker pointed out one of Gary’s other endearing attributes, “you can hear him smile on the phone.”

When asked about receiving the employee of the month award from Methodist, Gary was thrilled. “I’m extremely proud to work on Four West at Methodist,” he said. “And I’m honored to work with such excellent co-workers!”

 

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Member Spotlight: Gia Normille

Gia Normille, health unit coordinator at Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, TN.

Gia Normille, health unit coordinator at Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, TN.

We all know that sometimes bad things happen to good people. For the employees at Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, it’s a good thing they have a Gia.

Gia Normille is a HUC (Health Unit Coordinator) on the pulmonary floor at MMC. She has been at Methodist since 2010, and her duties include answering call lights, gathering and organizing patient charts, and facilitating communication and flow for the doctors and staff. But Gia can always be found doing much more, little things that make a huge difference to the patients and their families. At any given time, she can be seen carrying a cup of coffee or a warm blanket to someone who maybe isn’t feeling well.

When Gia finds out that one of her union brothers or sisters is having a hardship, she spearheads a fundraiser to get help when it is needed the most. Employees from every corner of the hospital respond by bringing in food, from professionally decorated cupcakes, or up to 10 gallons of chili, carloads of chips and cheese, and many other mouth watering items. Then the employees come together for lunch, make a donation, and finer food can’t be found anywhere in the South.

When asked why she works so hard to organize these fundraisers, Gia simply says “People need help. I hope that if I ever need help, someone would do the same for me.”

Gia is married to husband Michael, and they have three children. She used to work at another hospital, but moved to Oak Ridge and transferred to MMC. One of the deciding factors in coming here was because of the Union. “I didn’t have the support at the other hospital like I have here,” Gia says. “The members of SEIU 205 are like family – I know they have my back and we support each other.”

In addition to all she does on the job and for her family, Gia also does her best to educate her co-workers about the benefits of joining the union. “I know many new employees really don’t know much about what the Union does,” she says. “I have been talking to them and explaining that we wouldn’t have the benefits that we have without a union contract. And I love that we have stewards everywhere, looking out for us. I recently had a conversation with a new RN, and signed her up! It was my first time getting a new member, and I loved it!”

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