Arbitrator Rules in Favor of Consulate WorkersFebruary 24, 2020
An arbitrator has found that Consulate Health Care violated the contract bargaining agreement when it refused to reclassify PRN workers at Bay Breeze Senior Living and Rehabilitation Center when their work hours exceeded the contractually allotted amount. This decision is a huge victory for the hardworking CNAs and other permanent staff at Bay Breeze who joined together through their union, 1199SEIU Florida, to file a grievance concerning this issue.
“I feel wonderful. It was a long hard battle,” said Amy Runkle, a CNA who has worked at Bay Breeze for 28 years.
Runkle testified at the hearing. She talked about how the growing number of PRNs, who typically get paid at much higher rates, has led to high turnover at Bay Breeze.
“The bargaining unit has shrunk in recent years because the PRNs have been working an increasing number of hours,” said Runkle. “It impacts us significantly. We had 50 plus members. Over the past year, it has dropped down to just nine.”
Another concern for Runkle is how an overuse of PRNs can adversely impact the continuity of care seniors and other nursing home residents need and deserve.
“When you have PRNs, the continuity of care goes down,” explained Runkle. “There’s someone different every day.”
Continuity of care is critically important to the health and well-being of residents adds Runkle. "I know my residents well. I have a full-time assignment. I feel accountable for them,” she said.
The arbitrator’s decision was specific to Bay Breeze Senior Living and Rehabilitation Center, one of many nursing homes Consulate Health Care owns in Florida. But it could set the stage for the additional arbitrations 1199SEIU has filed at 12 other Consulate facilities.
“My coworkers are so excited that we won,” exclaimed Runkle. “It’s all about sticking together. If we stick together, we can reach our goals.”