Here is a recap of what happened at bargaining this week:
Despite the fact that our lead negotiator, Deb Hayes, lost her mother on Monday morning, we continued to bargain Monday – Saturday this week.
Bargaining has been a slow and tedious process. On at least two occasions this week, our bargaining team waited 12 hours for management to respond to our proposals.
Instead of bargaining the contract, CHS is producing anti-union fliers that they are distributing to the entire Catholic Health workforce, depicting our union as the real problem in Catholic Health.
We spent most of the week discussing Catholic Health’s prescription drug proposal. Catholic Health’s initial proposal was not fully thought out and if we had agreed to their initial proposal, it would have had a significant adverse effect, in terms of cost and pharmacy accessibility for our membership. For example, the pharmacy they proposed is only open from 8am-6pm and with their proposal members would have had to pay a higher co-pay for medicine they needed immediately. We spent nearly every day this week asking questions and getting information from Catholic Health regarding their new pharmacy program.
Based on all of these discussions, Catholic Health made improvements to their initial proposal and we were able to reach an agreement in principle on Prescription Coverage on Friday, October 22. Unfortunately, because this proposal had not been thoroughly thought through by Catholic Health, we spent many hours in the week discussing this and waiting for revisions in order to reach an agreement.
On Saturday we gave Catholic Health a comprehensive package proposal that included wages and staffing.
Wages and Staffing continue to be our largest challenges to reaching an overall agreement. With management’s proposal, approximately 50 RNs and 78 STC members would be red circled and/or receive lump sum payments. These lump sum payments are completely unacceptable to the bargaining committee and primarily affect our most senior members in the bargaining unit.
Catholic Health still has not agreed to pay retroactive pay.
The Union bargaining committee continues to push Catholic Health on staffing issues not just for the nursing staff but for the technical and ancillary staff as well. While we have made some progress on staffing issues, we do not have the firm commitment on ratios that we feel we need.
- We are negotiating for additional FTEs to be hired in the KMH Respiratory Therapy and Imaging Departments.
- At MHB we are fighting for additional FTEs in Respiratory Therapy, the Imaging Department, Dietary, Environmental Services and Transport.
- At the SJC we want to be sure we maintain the staff that we have.
From the nursing perspective, we are still fighting to get the 1:4 ratio on medical-surgical floors. The Union committee has been clear with management that we cannot, will not work under the conditions we all experienced over the past several years.
We also continue to have a number of minor issues outstanding that should have been resolved months ago. Catholic Health continues to dig their heels in on items such as ECMO On-Call and ER On-Call at Mercy Hospital.
Please join our Town Hall Call this evening at 7:30pm. We will try answer as many questions as possible during the call. The toll free number is 855-840-6970.