A Perfect Example of Why I'm Getting the Hell Out Of Academic Centres
Warning: Gratuitous vent ahead.
When the December call schedule came out at the end of November, I was surprised to see myself put on call on December 28th. According to our union contract, every resident is entitled to 5 consecutive days of vacation, either over Christmas or over New Year's. Now, since I'm related to many people with crazy schedules I opted to apply for New Year's over Christmas... I figured I'd be more likely to get what I wanted and could arrange two different celebrations. One with my family the week before Christmas (this week) by taking a week of vacation, and one with my in-laws the week after Christmas (the New Year's block). Everyone would be happy.
So when I applied for my New Year's block and didn't get any response (all vacation requests need to be denied within two weeks, or they're considered approved), I made my holiday plans for that period... my five days were December 29th, 30th and 31st and January 1st and 2nd. Then the December schedule came out and I was on call the 28th. That means that I'm actually working until at least 10am on my first day of "vacation". Totally not allowed by union contract. So I'm only getting four days of vacation instead of the five I'm supposed to get.
I e-mailed the chief resident as soon as the schedule came out, thinking it was just a mistake. I was told that 'someone has to take that day', and told that I wasn't going to get an additional day elsewhere to make up for it. Basically, I was brushed off. I mentioned it to our program secretary who sent an e-mail stating in no uncertain terms that they had no right to take a day off my holiday, and to please change it. No response. I mentioned it at a recent union meeting, and another e-mail was sent. No response. Finally, the contract compliance guy got the big guns (i.e. union lawyer) to draft a letter threatening grievance if the contract was not honoured.
Finally, a response. I was pulled aside yesterday by the chief resident who expressed his anger at being contacted by the union lawyer in no uncertain terms. He said that I took him by surprise... apparently no one has EVER complained about having their vacation shortened after being previously approved before. Right. I'm sure.
He said that if I was 'determined' to follow our union contract 'to the letter', he'd start following other rules to the letter as well. He threatened, for starters, to make me work every day over holidays as though it were a normal day (due to OR shutdowns and cancelled clinics over holidays we usually just treat each day as a weekend day and the person on call covers both that day and night). I asked if he'd be expecting this of everybody, and he responded that this would be enforced on 'a case-by-case basis'. Meaning, obviously, that I'd be doing this alone. He then pointed out that I only have 5 call in December and therefore have no right to complain. I pointed out that 5 is the maximum number of call that anyone on the schedule is doing in December, and that I have the same number of call as everyone else in spite of having a week of vacation. His response was that he could legally (according to the contract) have given me more, particularly on the weekends flanking my week of vacation. Hint, hint, eh? Sigh.
So I'm being forced to suck it up. It's apparently not enough that I work my ass off for enough hours every week to be equivalent to two and a half NORMAL jobs, but now the minute I try to stick up for the time off that I'm entitled to by my contract, I get threatened by my senior. I can't freaking believe this shit.