I didn’t want my wage reduction to go unchallenged. (Unlike other nurses, I was informed that I would no longer receive additional money to cover certain higher paying departments.)
Receiving less money interferes with my mantra I repeat to myself all day as one bad thing after another happens:
"I work here for the paycheck and health insurance. Nothing else."
I decided against going to my union for three reasons.
1- They might already know. Management may have asked for and received their blessing. The joke would be on me.
2- The union would side with the hospital, not me. They have never “won” a dispute for me. The union acts more as a mediator who leans in the hospital's favor instead of being my advocate.
3- When other nurses start getting their wages reduced and complain to the union, the hospital can cite me as a bonafide case of why this is acceptable. If the union knows about (and approved) my wage reduction, it will make it difficult to advocate for their favorite children. If the union does not know that my wages were reduced, they will get angry at me for not telling them and inform me that I put them in a position that makes it difficult to argue to restore salaries of other nurses. Good.
I emailed the director of the hospital to have in writing why my salary was being reduced.
He answered me. It was nonsense logic. He wrote that my salary was actually raised a few years back when I moved from the floor into an office, so that negates any requirement for the hospital to pay me extra for covering other departments; that extra money is for ward nurses only when they are floated to cover an office.
I responded that my salary was not raised and that I am still classified as a ward nurse and that I work on the floor whenever told to do so.
He responded that I am “considered management,” so I cannot have anything other than my base salary, but since I consider myself a ward nurse, I will be assigned a ward and have to work holidays and swing shifts.
As if I were being punished for objecting to my salary being decreased.
I responded that I am not considered management by anyone. I still report to the shift supervisor like the rest of the ward nurses. And I am not paid according to the salary rubric for upper level nurses in the union contract.
He wrote back that he would look into it.
It would be funny if they tried to cheat me out of a few extra dollars and ended up having to pay me thousands for the years that I’ve been mainly an office nurse, but paid as a ward nurse.
This will not happen.
I’m glad that I objected to getting screwed over; however, it may have blown up in my face. At first I was upset that I made matters worse. But then I read a blog post by the Maverick Traveler:
"Failure becomes an integrated part of your life because the process requires it; you can never find what works until you first throw out what doesn’t."
So I failed in making my case for not reducing my salary. Just keep going. In the future I may get better at salary negotiations.