Here is the text of the leaflet that has been handed out at the informational pickets.
Why Are We Picketing?
We are staff at the Brattleboro Retreat and we are here to let the community know what is happening. In a time of crisis the administration has consistently chosen to make life for the direct patient care staff more difficult. According to the administration there is a staffing crisis at the Retreat which has led to a financial crisis. Staff have been leaving, and hiring has been challenging. There is a shortage of nurses, mental health workers, social workers and doctors. The Retreat has been severely understaffed for well over a year. We agree, it is truly a crisis. During a time of crisis administration should work harder to for staff that have remained, and consequently attract new staff. This is a time to ask us what we need, listen intently, and then try to provide it. Instead, the administration has become increasingly abusive. In spite of this we are still coming to work.
The patients at the Retreat are part of our community locally, and throughout New England. They are friends, neighbors, and family members. The staff at the Retreat work there because they care about the patients, and love the work they do.
This is NOT a strike. We are still working. We are speaking publicly and asking for help.
On Thursday, June 14th we received an email informing us that our work schedules would be changed. ALL of us. All nurses. All mental health workers. Schedules we have worked with our managers to craft so that we can do our jobs as well as take care of our children, elderly parents, or disabled family members. Schedules coordinated carefully with spouses and family so that the things we need to attend to can be taken care of. Schedules so that we can make it to our second jobs, doctor’s appointments, and regular physical therapy appointments. We were told these would all be changed “to be fair and equitable” and that we would receive our new schedules the next day and that they would take effect on July 15th.
On that day we had had enough.
We had already been struggling as the administration has been creating new rules and pushing the boundaries of existing agreements between themselves and the union. Every week there is some new decree from the administration about how the floor staff are to behave or organize their time. They’ve changed what qualifies as sick time. There has been a surge in mandating staff to stay beyond their scheduled work hours and changes in how that procedure is handled when it needs to happen.The almost constant stream of changes in the past year has been taxing, draining, overwhelming. Coping with these changes takes away from our ability to do our best for our patients.
We love our jobs, we love our patients.
Please support us. Come by and talk with us, ask us anything you like. If you see us around town with our ID badges on say hi and ask us questions. Call the administration at the Retreat, tell them what you think. We want to be able to stay at our jobs and care for your family members, your friends, your community members. We deserve respect from the administration for the work we do on behalf of our patients and our community.
WHY ARE WE PICKETING?
THIS IS NOT A STRIKE, WE ARE STILL WORKING.
WE ARE THE STAFF OF THE BRATTLEBORO RETREAT, WE TAKE CARE OF YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS, FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS WHEN THEY ARE HAVING A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS.
BUT NOW THE RETREAT IS HAVING A FINANCIAL AND STAFFING CRISIS, AND WE, THE STAFF, ARE BEING SACRIFICED.
THE RETREAT’S ADMINISTRATION HAS BEEN INCREASING OUR WORKLOAD, FORCING US TO WORK EXTRA HOURS, CHANGING OUR SCHEDULES AND TREATING US WITH DISRESPECT, WHILE NOT MAKING ANY CHANGES TO THEIR OWN ENORMOUS SALARIES.
NOT SURPRISINGLY, MANY OF THE RETREAT STAFF HAVE LEFT, LEAVING THOSE OF US WHO REMAIN IN AN OVERWHELMED POSITION, STRUGGLING TO KEEP UP WITH THE CONSTANT STREAM OF DEMANDS.
ON THURSDAY JUNE 14TH WE RECEIVED YET ANOTHER DECREE WHICH HAS LEFT MOST OF US FURIOUS MANY ON THE VERGE OF QUITTING.
WE LOVE OUR JOBS, WE LOVE OUR PATIENTS, BUT WE CAN NO LONGER LIVE LIKE THIS.
PLEASE TALK TO US, FIND OUT WHAT WE HAVE BEEN GOING THROUGH AND HELP US MAKE THE RETREAT A PLACE WE’D ALL LIKE TO WORK AND STAY. CALL THE ADMINISTRATORS AND LET THEM KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.
CALL THEM AT:
1-800-RETREAT Louis Josephson CEO, Meghan Baston CNO
Thanks for taking the time to read this.