CCMC nurses protest over pay raise

Posted at 9:35 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-29 06:49:25-04

Corpus Christi Medical Center nurses who are part of a national union held a demonstration this evening at the intersection of Rodd Field Road and SPID.

CCMC officials tell KRIS 6 News, however, there are no plans to lay off nurses locally, and they’re disappointed by Thursday evening’s demonstration.

However, union nurses said the protest was necessary because they believe they’re being treated unfairly.

“We did get a threatening offer or proposition that said, 'You will either take these layoffs, or we’re going to make you give up your raises,” said registered nurse Lavaughn Renner.

Every year, union nurses such as Renner get a raise. However because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Corpus Christi Medical Center, like hospitals nationwide, temporarily stopped elective surgeries. This cut off a major profit stream most hospitals depend on. So to save money, CCMC asked to freeze that raise. The union refused its offer.

"When you have a contract, I think you want me to keep up my end of the bargain, and I want you to keep up your end of the bargain,” Renner said.

In the meantime, hospital officials said some employees have taken pay cuts or forgone their raises. The hospital is also offering pandemic pay, which means if you’re not able to work a full work week, the hospital will provide 70 percent of an employee’s pay base.

"Corpus Christi Medical Center is really just trying to protect their employees -- with both their financial security and employment, and keeping them safe,” said Christina Perry, a CCMC nurse practitioner.

Perry is not part of the union and says there have been no layoffs or furloughs during the pandemic.

Hospitals are seeing significantly fewer patients, however, and say there’s just not enough work for staff.

“We still hope to avoid layoffs, however the union’s demand for raises makes that difficult,” CCMC said in a statement.

Renner believes any layoffs can become a safety issue, though.

"When you're taking away hours from nurses, and making us short-staffed, that becomes a safety issue — a real safety issue on my time that I can look after you properly,” she said.

CCMC officials said pandemic pay will end for union members on June 6, but will continue for other employees.