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August 18 - Do We Need a Strike Vote?

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Thank you to everyone who came out to our informational picket on August 18th! It was a huge success, with attendance by more than a thousand members from all sites, plus our union family from the United Auto Workers, Building Trades and Allied Trades, IUOE, National Nurses Union, Starbucks Workers United, and others. Many of our members spoke to the media about short staffing and poor working conditions we all know too well. While we were outside on High Street, Kaleida administration was holed up in Swift Auditorium, not engaging with the people who go to work every day to keep the hospitals afloat and who are fed up with our conditions.

Awesome picket, but what’s next? Our next step is authorizing a strike vote by the bargaining committee, to keep pressure on Kaleida to settle a fair contract with wage increases and better staffing levels to help recruit and retain the workers we desperately need. If the bargaining committee authorizes a strike vote, we will schedule votes for both unions. You are the real decision-makers who will determine whether or not we go on strike. If members of both unions vote YES, then we must give our employer and the state a 10-day notice to strike, allowing the hospital to prepare ahead time so our patients do not go without the care they need. If the unions ask you to make this important decision, members would give our bargaining committee additional power at the table – but a “yes” vote to strike does not necessarily mean we immediately give Kaleida a 10-day notice. Giving the 10-day notice to strike depends on what we are able to secure at the bargaining table.

This week at bargaining has been slower than usual. We are down to a handful of non-economic articles, staffing, and then the big-ticket items: wages, incentive bonus, retirement, health insurance. Kaleida has not said a word about any of these this week.

Floating: The only article Labor and Kaleida have discussed this week is Floating (Article 19), with hospital administration pushing to maintain $2/hour float pay for most members and keeping the provision that members on overtime or extra time will be first to float. Kaleida is willing to consider $3/hour for float pay only for Float Phlebotomists and Float Pool members. Another idea Kaleida wants is for members who pick up within 24 hours of a shift to be able to cancel the shift if they are not needed and do not want to float. CWA and 1199SEIU
re-proposed our demand for $3/hour for all floating, and for members who pick up shifts at any point to be able to cancel the shift rather than be forced to float.

BGMC Procedure Labs Cross-Training MOU: Both unions and Kaleida are nearing agreement on a new Memorandum of Understanding on cross-training for new RNs and Radiological Techs in the BGMC Procedure Labs. This MOU proposes a work group to create procedures and guidelines for training members in an additional modality beyond their primary specialty, which will be mandatory for new hires and optional for existing department staff. The MOU also clarifies expectations for members asked to be “helping hands” outside their primary modality.