Monday, May 19, 2014

This morning, the union notified St. Joe's management that all of the mandatory bargaining subjects have been resolved and that the union is going to present the tentative agreements to its membership on Thursday and Friday for your consideration. 

Management has been trying to force the union bargaining team to give up our unfair labor practice complaints that have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board over their illegal infringement of our rights. They have also demanded that we promise to not file any more unfair labor practice complaints (even if they fire a member of the bargaining team!) and they want us to withdraw a request for information we have made related to staffing.

There are certain things that either side can ask for in negotiations, but that they can't make the other side bargain them. The National Labor Relations Act refers to these things as "permissive subjects of bargaining" (the others—like wages and benefits—are “mandatory subjects”) and the demands mentioned above that management is insisting on are permissive subject proposals. These are the only items still left on the table. 

We believe management is trying to avoid reaching an agreement by insisting on acceptance of permissive proposals. They don’t like this approach we are taking and may try to sabotage the process, but we are not going to let them delay the contract any further. There are no unresolved mandatory subject proposals and, therefore, we are ready for you to vote. 

We wish management would cooperate and provide us rooms in the hospital to have the vote, but they haven't done so at this time. So, we are going to hold the vote just a block away at the Painters Union Hall at 100 Republic Avenue on Thursday and Friday.  We know the location is not ideal, but it is important that you have your vote counted, so please join us there. 

The voting times will be 6 AM to 9 AM, 1 PM to 4 PM, and 5 PM to 8 PM. Ballots will be counted on Friday at 8 PM. The ballot will offer two choices: whether to accept the tentative agreements or to reject them and go on strike. You do not want someone else making this important decision for you and must make every effort to cast your vote.

Below is a summary of the contract changes.  We will have the actual contract language at the Painters Hall.  Bargain team members will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

SUMMARY (* indicates items secured or improved since the membership rejection)

Wages: 2014--Placement on an improved, union-proposed grid to address inequities or 2%, whichever is greater*

Call pay:  If a nurse is scheduled to be on call and has her/his shift extended by at least one hour (even if s/he doesn’t leave the facility or punch out/in), the time beyond the shift will be paid at time and a half.*  If a nurse 60 years old or older wants to be exempted from call, s/he must inform her/his manager.  Once s/he is exempted, she remains exempted unless s/he agrees otherwise.
Holidays:  Holiday premium will increase to 150%.  Starting in 2015, night shift will celebrate holidays on the actual holiday instead of the day before.
Staffing:  The union will appoint four nurses (up from three) to the Staffing and Acuity Committee.  The Committee will meet monthly until July 2014, then every other month (instead of quarterly now).  The Union and management will alternate creating the agenda.  If more than five ADOs are filed by a unit within a month, that unit’s staffing will be reviewed.  All ADOs will receive a written response.*
HE: Nurses can volunteer for HE before agency.  If a nurse agrees, she may be placed on voluntary standby instead of HE (earning $3.50/hour) and still use PTO for any lost hours.*  There still is no mandatory standby.*  If a nurse is on voluntary standby and is called in, s/he must report within 90 minutes.
Temporary Reassignment (pulling): Nurse will be given 60 minute notice prior to being pulled (no notice required now).  Establish CCRTs’ first assignment as their “home unit” (this is necessary because a nurse cannot be pulled more than once except back to their home unit). No pulling on holidays.*
Layoff/recall:  Increase notice of layoff from two weeks to 30 days.  Increase recall from layoff rights from 6 months to one year.
Reporting absences: A nurse can call in up to two hours before her/his shift instead of the currently required two and a half hours.
Work schedules:  Hard copies of work schedules will be posted upon the request of staff.  Long-term changes to patterns schedules will require the manager to seek volunteers first, then by inverse seniority.
Discipline: Increase notice of investigatory meetings from 24 hours to two business days.  Management will provide the reason for the investigation and evidence at the meeting.
Non-discrimination:  Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Probation:  Decrease the probationary period from 120 days to 90 days.  Allow probationary employees access to the grievance procedure (except for termination during probationary period).
Labor-Management meetings: Agenda items must be submitted 7 days in advance to the union and management.
Union business leave:  Allow for a 90 day leave for union business (none now).
Tuition reimbursement: Extend tuition reimbursement to IHR I and II for BSN (50%).  Eliminate tuition reimbursement for Master’s for IHR III.
Clinical Pathways: 1/2% bonus of year’s earnings for participating in certain activities and having certain education/training.
Overtime: Management agrees to assign mandatory overtime in accord with the Hospital Licensing Act.*
BSN requirementOnly new hires without a BSN will have to start towards their degree within 6 months of hire and complete the program within 3 years.*
Insurance eligibility for IHR: An IHR May be eligible for health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act. If s/he takes it, her/his pay will be set at the rate of other, non-IHR nurses.
Eliminate Weekend Program.
Bereavement leave:  Remove benefit for IHR III.
Extended Illness bank: EIB remains protected by the contract*, but the PTO “deductible” increases to 32 hours. Excess PTO can no longer be rolled over into EIB.
Union Access: Limited to “business” hours.
Contract length: Three year term.


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