CNI in Diagnostic Imaging
By AFSCME Staff Representative Dennis Ziemer
Discussion of CNI – Critical Need Incentive – discussions of implementing a CNI started with the Techs in General Radiology during the fall of 2015.
CNI is Critical Need Incentive. It is often used when a staffing level starts to show signs of too much work and a dwindling pool of staff to do that work. It requires two basic ingredients to work:
1. People who can fill-in extra hours/shifts and
2. Extra pay to encourage others to do the work while giving others the option to leave for the day.
In November, 2015 union members and staff representative Dennis Ziemer met with management every few months to describe the staffing crisis. Many staff were just giving up on the idea of any relief. Many decided to just not have a life outside of work, and others started to consider working somewhere that was staffed appropriately.
In May, 2016 the problem got worse when a proposed CNI was roundly rejected by Techs as unusable.
Without CNI as an option, everyone is subject to a last-minute assignment of mandatory overtime.
Mandatory overtime is a difficult thing to encounter when you are at work. It is even harder to adjust to when you are a young parent, have others who depend on you, have a pet to take care of, or basically have a life outside your job.
Picture yourself having to make alternative arrangements for those responsibilities because you are told you must stay for another 4 hours. Now multiply that situation by the number of days you work in a year, while your boss attempts to resolve the “perfect storm” that has outraged you and the angered 50 of your colleagues.
As the summer of 2016 approached there didn’t appear to be any work toward a new draft of CNI.
Several staff took it upon themselves to create the much needed CNI plan. Megan Evans and Meghan Thomas and several GenRad Techs were responsible for creating and then describing the proposal to the Director of Diagnostic Imaging, Brad Reed. Brad initially thought it hit the mark, meaning it appeared to have exactly what would be needed to get approved by OHSU.
The amount of money for assigned shifts was not what was originally sought, but it was sufficient in the eyes of the Diagnostic Imaging Techs. Ultimately AFSCME and OHSU agreed to $12 per hour as the CNI. The plan was endorsed by OHSU. In fact, the plan was applied to all Imaging Modalities: General Radiology, Mammography, CT, MRI, Ultrasound, Vascular Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine and PET.
The Techs in all these operations unanimously approved the document. AFSCME 328 Executive Board in turn unanimously approved the Letter of Agreement on CNI for Diagnostic Imaging at their September meeting and returned it to OHSU for implementation. Local 328 President Matt Hilton signed the document.
A few bumps occurred in the implementation process but the Techs report that they are now receiving the CNI.