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Valley RNs to Receive Thousands in Back Pay

Blog, 6/22/11

It may be no surprise to many nurses that they often work through their lunch breaks, losing both their meal break and their wages for working the extra time. What is a surprise is how many RNs take their losses without protest. NNOC/NNU intends to put an end to this abuse.

NNOC-Texas nurses filed a claim against Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen and Brownsville, Texas for lost overtime wages due to working through their meal breaks. After an investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division found that thousands of dollars was owed nurses over a 2-year period. Nurses began to receive their back pay checks this month. One nurse, quoted on local TV, said ‘And it’s not just a little bit of money. It’s a lot of money.”

Valley Baptist’s prepared statement claimed they “welcomed the opportunity to work with the Wage and Hour Department and to correct any unintentional errors…”  A Valley Baptist nurse however said,  “They intentionally removed our way to claim no lunch and make it a hassle to claim no lunch. I was forced to work my lunch breaks. I had lunch. I ate on the go. We used to have a way to clock out ‘no lunch’ but then they took it away from us.”

The NNOC/NNU Solution

NNOC/NNU is happy to help hospital administrations avoid these pesky ‘unintentional errors’. Union NNOC nurses in Texas, Florida, Missouri, Nevada and other states propose at their collective bargaining tables that hospitals guarantee by Union Contract three things, enforced by pay penalties if a meal break is interrupted:

  • 30 minute uninterrupted unpaid meal period
  • 15 minute paid rest breaks during each 4 hours worked
  • Relief nurses instead of doubling patient loads during 
meals & breaks

This is a simple and straight-forward solution, and will go a long way toward avoiding any hospital errors. The law is clear. Missed meal breaks means owed wages. There’s no need to be a victim.

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