UNIONS DEMAND BETTER STAFFING INCENTIVES
Marking a shift towards economic articles in bargaining, CWA and 1199SEIU presented Kaleida with four new proposals regarding hiring and deployment of agency/travel personnel, language to protect us in pandemic/infectious disease/state of emergency conditions, new language regarding staffing incentive, and the Staffing/Clinical Staffing Committee.
· Agency/Travel Personnel: Both unions laid out the conditions under which we feel it will be appropriate and beneficial to bring in agency workers, such as when open positions remain vacant despite active recruiting; extended leaves of absence; or surge plans for flu season. Agency personnel are not to precept new members or take charge. In our proposal, these positions are to be subject to monthly review at Staffing Committee meetings.
· Infectious Disease State of Emergency Preparedness: Labor is demanding stronger protections for our members, including screening practices, PPE, and education for future pandemics, epidemics, and infectious disease states of emergency – and a seat at the table where decision-making, planning, and debriefing occur. CWA Local 1168 President Cori Gambini said that hospital staff should “never again” have to work under the conditions we did during Covid, and this language should shield members better from exposure to illness.
· Staffing Incentive: 1199SEIU and CWA has heard our members loud and clear about the existing contract article outlining bonus for short-staffed shifts was ineffective, so we wrote new language that demands $35/hour for each hour to be paid without administration approval to members who work above their budgeted FTE. The money is to be paid in addition to overtime. Members who work in departments where bonus is triggered will get first priority to these shifts, in seniority order, if they have signed up on the availability list. We modeled the language on the Catholic Health System’s most recent contract, and we feel it’s simpler and more streamlined than the current incentive plan meant to fill holes on the needs list.
· Staffing/Clinical Staffing Committee: New York State law requires acute care facilities to establish staffing ratios for nursing and procedural departments and it sets penalties and fines for employers that fail to meet them. These ratios must be submitted to Albany by July 1. The committees at each site met weekly starting in April; we used the feedback and recommendations from staff to shape our demands for nursing staff ratios in hospitals and long-term care. We have begun work on our companion proposal for professional, technical, clinical, clerical, and service job titles. We know how many departments are beyond exhausted, fed up with working short every shift, sick of the robo-calls, pushed to the point of tears by their workloads. CWA 1168 and 1199SEIU are demanding nurse-to-patient ratios of 1:1 or 1:2 depending on acuity in acute care, up to 1:4 in med-surg, and ancillary staff-to-patient ratios that max out at 1:6. If Kaleida agrees to this staffing, we will finally be able to provide the kind of care our patients deserve.
We reached Tentative Agreements on the Nursing Clinical Progression Model (Article 96), which is now renamed Clinical Progression Model to include Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Respiratory Therapists, and Clinical Educators; and the Floating Grid for OCH (MOU 23), where we added new cost centers.
Labor and Kaleida have exchanged multiple proposals on Time and Attendance (Article 53), Floating (Article 91) and the Floating Grids for BGMC and MFSH (MOU 26). We remain pretty far apart on sections of all three but will keep working on them.
Open Bargaining: Come on down to open bargaining at 1199SEIU, 2421 Main St. in Buffalo! We’d love to see you at a bargaining session any Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sign up through your union!