Despite a so-called “last, best and final” offer from hospital management, 1,400 nurses and caregivers at Dimensions Healthcare System in Prince George’s County, Maryland are standing firm in their demand for a contract that provides for safe staffing, no take-backs and that gives fair pay after they have gone without a raise in more than three years.The latest offer from Dimensions is not really a significant change from earlier offers, said Gail Kingman, acting 1199SEIU vice president. The union represents 800 nurses and 600 service and technical workers at several facilities in the county, the largest being Prince George’s Hospital Center and Laurel Regional Hospital Center.Kingman told the Washington Business Journal that three irreconcilable differences between caregivers and management are cancellations, reassignments and fair wages. The current Collective Bargaining Agreement includes a process that management must follow when cancelling the shift of an employee and that limits the amount of cancellations for all staff.Dimensions is proposing that management be allowed to cancel the shift of employee at will, as often as they please. So an employee could show up to work and be told to go home without pay. Similarly, the current contract stipulates that registered nurses can be reassigned to areas in their scope of practice with a proper orientation to the unit. In the new proposal from Dimensions, nurses could be reassigned to places where patient safety and their license could be put in jeopardy.Such proposals for changes in staffing will in effect cause staff to lose money, Kingman said and gave the example of a caregiver earing $15 an hour who is sent home from what was supposed to be a 12-hour shift. That employee would lose $180.“These people have jobs, full-time status and you calculate your life on that,” Kingman told the Business Journal. “How do you prepare for ‘if I go to work, they might send me home?’ ”Kingman added that the proposed cancellations make the Dimensions offer of a two percent raise each year, with no retro pay, look especially skimpy. (The latest proposal from 1199SEIU is for a 2.75 percent raise with retro pay to April 30, 2013.)“If management can send us home with no pay, we will lose a lot more than we gain with a two percent raise,” she said.. “Who can afford to lose money like that over the next three years?”Dimensions caregivers maintain an online voice at See more at:

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