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July 29 - Bargaining Update

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Kaleida Responds To Our Economic Proposal.
Our Contract Will Expire July 31st.

Finally, we have the bargaining news you’ve been waiting for: Kaleida has given us their first economic proposals. As you read, please keep in mind that these are only the beginning – the unions and Kaleida are quite far apart on everything, and our committee will stay at the bargaining table and continue to negotiate.

First, though, let’s talk about our contract expiration, which happens July 31.

Contract Expiration & Extension: Our three-year contract expired May 31 and the bargaining committee has extended twice, for a month each time. We do not plan to extend the contract again. What this means is that contract protections remain in place EXCEPT that the unions cannot arbitrate grievances filed after the expiration date. For new grievances filed after July 31, Kaleida still has an obligation to furnish information and discuss the situation.

What does this mean
? Allowing the contract extension to expire does not mean we are going on strike, and does not automatically trigger a strike vote. Once the contract/extension expires, we have the ability to go on strike after providing a 10-day notice (legally required for health care facilities, so that patient care or transfers can be planned). A strike is always a last resort that requires a member vote, and we will only consider that option once we have had the opportunity to fully bargain with the hospital. The bargaining committee is committed to negotiating in good faith with Kaleida to reach an agreement.

Economic proposals

Wage scales: In our PROPOSAL, all pay scales would get $2.50 added to all hours paid, retroactive to June 1, 2022, plus annual 4 percent increases on top of that during the three-year life of the contract. The $2.50/hour would translate to an additional $4,800 over 12 months for full time members, and that would be the base rate for percentage increases. For example, if you currently are in step C1, making $17.12/hour; this proposal would raise your base rate to $19.62/hour, and then a raise of 4 percent would bump you up to $20.40/hour this year with more percentage increases next year and in 2024. By August 2025, your pay rate would be $22.07/hour, which is almost 25 percent higher than today.

Kaleida’s counter-proposal
: Kaleida proposed 2 percent raises annually for everyone except nurses in RN2 positions for steps 1-4, who would get a $2.50/hour raise to bring their pay ahead of local competition.

Long-Term Care: The unions proposed eliminating the L-scale for long-term care facilities, and found equivalent locations for all the “SNF” job titles on the equivalent hospital wage scales.

Kaleida’s counter-proposal keeps the L-scale and renames the job grades, but brings the pay rates up to what hospital staff earn.

Shift differentialsCWA and 1199SEIU asked for shift differential of $6/hour for evening shift and $8/hour for night shift for all job titles, because working these shifts is the same inconvenience whether you are a pharmacist or an EVS worker.

Kaleida counter-proposed the current shift differentials, except for Physician Assistants and RNs, whose night shift differential would rise to $4.50.

Short scales: For members who work in clinical/clerical and service roles and are on “short scales” which have lower starting pay and end at Step 5, our unions proposed eliminating the lower scales and moving these members to the “long scales” relative to their respective step.

Kaleida’s counterproposal adds steps to the “short scales,” but would keep Step 1-5 at the lower rates.

Job upgrade presentations: Members representing more than three dozen job titles did presentations to Kaleida July 12-13, describing what has changed about their work and why they deserve pay upgrades. Kaleida denied all but five of them, and only agreed to bring the titles in line.

RetentionBoth unions proposed bonuses of 10 percent of base hourly rate x full-time equivalent hours for members who have stayed at Kaleida facilities through Covid and terrible working conditions.

Kaleida’s counter-proposal was no retention bonus.

Longevity: In addition, Labor proposed a Step 10 for members who stay at Kaleida 25 years or longer, in all job titles. Kaleida rejected our proposal.

Retirement plans: Both unions proposed pay credit increases for the cash balance and legacy plans. Kaleida’s counter proposal is to not increase anything and maintain current contract language.

Prescription drug coverage: Management has removed Family Pharmacy from all their proposals. The grievance that the unions filed when this benefit was taken away last November is awaiting arbitration. In Kaleida’s proposal, prescription drug coverage is at a retail pharmacy or by mail order only.

Medical Insurance (Article 29)
Here are Kaleida’s proposals for Medical Insurance:

Coverage can begin on the first of the month following 30 days of employment.

Members hired after the new contract’s ratification date will be subject to higher cost-sharing percentages for the duration of their employment. Currently, full-time members gradually pay less for Kaleida health insurance if they work at least five years, but part-time members’ rates remain 20.4 -22.4 percent regardless of length of employment. Under Kaleida’s proposal, new hires will always pay 30 percent if they’re part-time or 20 percent if full-time.

Two new configurations for health insurance – where we currently have single or family coverage, there would also be options for employee + spouse or employee + child(ren). 1199SEIU and CWA are concerned that this will maintain or reduce per-paycheck prices for most configurations, but spike rates for family coverage.

  • For members with Premium Plan insurance, there is no change to the cost of single coverage, employee + spouse will be $2.13 cheaper per paycheck, employee + child(ren) will be $12.33 cheaper per paycheck, and family coverage will cost an additional $6.52 per paycheck.
  • For members with Align Plan insurance and five years’ seniority, there is no change to the cost for single coverage, employee + spouse will be $1.62 cheaper per paycheck, employee + child(ren) will be $9.42 cheaper per paycheck, and family coverage will cost an additional $5.01 per paycheck.

A $100/month surcharge if a member’s spouse is covered by our insurance while s/he also has access to alternate coverage elsewhere.

A new voluntary proposed prescription drug program covering selected specialty medications at zero copay. A Blue Cross/Blue Shield representative would contact eligible members to offer education and complete the enrollment process.

Dental insurance (Article 30): In Kaleida’s proposal for Dental Insurance, there is now a maximum age of 18 for the covered fluoride treatments; and coverage can begin on the first of the month following 30 days of employment.

PTO (Article 26) and Holidays (Article 82) were linked because, when we proposed adding Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Juneteenth as contractual holidays, Labor demanded another 7.5 hours’ PTO accrued for members to account for Juneteenth. (Time for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is already accounted for in annual accruals.) Management has agreed to recognize both Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Juneteenth as contractual holidays, but denied the request for additional PTO accrual. Labor sees the holiday acknowledgement as a win for most of us, but in smaller departments or for 5-day-a-week members it may create scheduling concerns such as how to make up the hours. The unions also have questions about departments that ordinarily close on holidays, and have language regarding when a holiday that falls on a weekend is observed, that we are asking management. CWA and 1199SEIU will continue to discuss these considerations with Kaleida.

Parking (Article 102): In our discussions about parking, 1199SEIU and CWA felt it was important to increase subsidies for members who have parking passes for the MiGo and Oishei ramps, so we increased the maximum eligible income for all three tiers. We felt that members earning up to $47,850 deserve the $30 subsidy; we proposed incomes between $47,851-65,700 receive the $15 subsidy; and members earning $65,701+ would be eligible for the $10 subsidy.

Kaleida’s proposal creates two tiers where members who earn up to $47,850 would receive the $30 subsidy, and those earning $47,851 and up would be eligible for the $10 subsidy. They say this would bring about 1,100 members into the higher subsidy tier.

Staffing: Since January, Clinical Staffing Committee (CSC) groups at each of the acute care hospitals – labor, staff, and administration – have met to hammer out ratios for nursing and ancillary staff. These meetings were required as part of a new New York State law, and the ratios were communicated to the state Department of Health in Albany on July 1.

The new law did not require ratios for long-term care sites, but rather hours of care per resident. The law also does not recognize the non-nursing departments that keep our hospitals afloat such as Dietary and Environmental Services. In order to obtain the staffing levels our patients deserve, both unions decided on ratios for all job titles, and included them in our contract proposals because we can bargain better conditions than the law requires.

In their staffing counter-proposals, Kaleida has stuck by the nursing and ancillary staffing ratios they sent to Albany, and rejected Labor’s proposals for long-term care and non-nursing job titles.

Bonus/incentive: 1199SEIU and CWA’s proposal eliminated management discretion to decide qualifying shifts, and demanded that members automatically receive an $35/hour for all hours worked in excess of their normally scheduled shifts. For example, with our committee’s proposal a member who normally works three shifts per week would pick up a fourth shift for an additional $35/hour.

Kaleida rejected this proposal, and wants to maintain the current bonus/incentive structure – and expand it to whole time block schedules in addition to the current two-week pay period system. This is also how Kaleida is proposing to find coverage for long-term absences such as disability.

Tentative AgreementsWe have reached agreements on a few articles this week:

There is a new article about Short Shifts, allowing creation of shifts between four and eight hours in length. This would allow for coverage for breaks and lunches, or extra hands in a department.

Flex employees (Article 11, with new Memorandum of Understanding about different procedures among CWA and 1199SEIU to redistribute the positions): These positions have proven unpopular with members, and are often hard to fill because the flex language means a member’s hours can be reduced if workload decreases. The new contract language states that flex positions can only be created when a new job is created, or when a position becomes vacant. It establishes the number of flex positions per department, and sets a limit of 7.5 percent of employees per bargaining unit who can be in flex positions.

Float Pool Employees (Article 91): At OCH, which now has three critical care float pools, the pools will transition to one which covers all critical care areas as people leave and new hires join the float pool. At BGMC, the float pools will remain med-surg/telemetry or critical care, with both float pools performing CAPD. And at MFSH, the float pools will be critical care/telemetry, med-surg/telemetry, and maternity, with float assignments evenly distributed among members so that they can maintain competencies and support all covered units.