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.

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.

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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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“Member 2 Member” Christmas Gift Drive @ Methodist Medical Center!

Melissa Wells, Sondra Bryant, and Linda Mabry round up the gifts donated by MMC staff to one of their union co-workers.

Melissa Wells, Sondra Bryant, and Linda Mabry round up the gifts donated by MMC staff to one of their union co-workers.

At a recent union meeting, several SEIU members decided to launch a Christmas gift drive for one of their union co-workers at Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge.

“I wanted folks to know that the union helps people out in our community, not just with their work issues,” said Linda Mabry, a registered nurse.

To get the ball rolling, Linda and several co-workers organized volunteers (“Santa’s Helpers”) in nearly every section of the hospital where staff could contribute Christmas gifts or gift cards to the effort. “This just shows what kind of people we have in our union,” said unit coordinator Gary Hughes, “We are all willing to jump in and help when there is a need.”

 

 

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Workers @ Methodist Medical Center Conclude Bargaining w/ Major Improvements!

File: Union members at MMC count ratification votes.

File: Union members at MMC count ratification votes.

After many obstacles and challenges, workers organized with SEIU Local 205 ratified a new three-year agreement with their employer, Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, TN.

A major sticking point this year was health insurance, when the company attempted to impose a 23.68% increase in employee health insurance contributions. This was considered unacceptable by the bargaining committee and even invited a legal challenge by the union. But by standing together, workers were able to negotiate improvements – not just in health insurance, but in wages and their other benefits, including:

  • A 2.5% raise every year in October.
  • An immediate 10% decrease in insurance premiums beginning with the first pay period after ratification. Those rates will be frozen for 18 months.
  • An increase in the voluntary flex spending account cap, raising it from $1000 to $2500.
  • A redesigned insurance plan that will add some yearly deductibles and a minimal increase in physician copays, but adds pharmacy expenses to the out-of-pocket maximum.
  • No other changes to benefits or the current contract with the exception of some language that addresses Affordable Care Act definitions of “full time”.

“This was only the second time we’ve done ‘limited bargaining’ and yes, it was frustrating at times, but in the end, cooler heads prevailed and the company did the right thing by workers,” said Jeff Massey, a respiratory therapist who served on the union’s bargaining team.

“I salute the bargaining team, the union representatives, and my co-workers for sticking together through this one,” said Gary Hughes, a unit secretary. “I have a feeling the next contract will be tough as well, but as long as we have strength, solidarity, and smarts, we will continue to make improvements so that we can continue to deliver top-notch health care to East Tennesseans.”

The new agreement, which passed by a vote of 92% by union members, expires in October, 2017.

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VICTORY! Arbitrator Rules In Favor of Workers at Methodist Medical Center!

Last year, members of Local 205 working at Methodist Medical Center filed a grievance over radical changes to the company’s attendance policy. After initial attempts to find a solution failed, both parties agreed to arbitration to resolve lingering issues.

After hearing all sides, the arbitrator issued a decision on the Local’s grievance at MMC. Here are the major findings:

  1. He agreed with SEIU that Methodist’s drastic cut in the number of occurrences needed to get a first-step verbal warning was unreasonable.
  2. He agreed that MMC’s cut in the number of occurrences needed for progressive discipline was also unreasonable.
  3. He rejected MMC’s claim that it could make these changes as a “management right” and ordered them to rescind these changes and go back to the previous standards.
  4. He also ruled that MMC should not have based any discipline under the new policy on occurrences happening before January 1, 2013 and ordered that those disciplinary actions be removed.

The arbitrator did find that counting a failure to clock in as a tardy was not unreasonable, but he recognized there are exceptions to this that should be handled on a case-by-case basis. He also said that it was not unreasonable to count an absence from a voluntary extra shift as an occurrence.

The arbitrator did find that counting a failure to clock in as a tardy was not unreasonable, but he recognized there are exceptions to this that should be handled on a case-by-case basis. He also said that it was not unreasonable to count an absence from a voluntary extra shift as an occurrence.

“This is a big victory for all workers at Methodist Medical and it shows that when we stand together, workers can win,” says RN Chief Steward Kay Golden, who was a key witness in the arbitration.

“With contract negotiations coming up this year, we know there are challenges ahead, and we need to be strong and united,” says S&T Chief Steward Jeff Massey. “If you are a member… we need you to get more involved and talk to your co-workers who are not members yet. Remind them that this is a major victory that would not have happened without our union.”

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