Update: CBA Negotiation Sessions 2-3

Update: CBA Negotiation Sessions 2-3

The University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) and National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) met yesterday and today for our second and third negotiating sessions to discuss terms for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). We continued to focus on non-economic proposals, which are those that deal with matters other than wages and benefits. We stressed the fact that the new contract now will have to cover newly represented nurses and that we need to begin making decisions on what that means and what language is needed to reflect their different work environments.

Over the past two days, UCMC presented its first set of non-economic proposals. These included putting into the CBA the annual vacation bidding process that allows all nurses to schedule vacation time at the start of the year that is not subject to later bumping. UCMC had proposed this during the last negotiation, and it was so successful that we agreed to expand the annual vacation bid from one week to two even before this negotiation.  We want this fair and equitable two-week bid to be written into the contract.

In addition, UCMC responded to the initial non-economic proposals that NNOC/NNU made at the last session on March 8. Among them, NNOC/NNU wants outside union representatives to be given full access and badge rights to patient care areas. We noted that we allow representatives to reserve some conference rooms away from care areas for membership and other meetings. But we are committed to maintaining patient care areas and associated break rooms for the uninterrupted care of our patients and their families. These are compromises that have worked well.

We did respond to other Union proposals, including ones that would grant all nurses with at least 20 years of bargaining-unit seniority off from work on Christmas Eve and Day, New Year’s Eve and Day, the day after Thanksgiving, and all other recognized holidays. While we respect the service of all our nurses, we responded that forcing less senior nurses to pick up additional holidays was not a balanced approach. We offered a compromise whereby more senior nurses — including those with less than 20 years of seniority — would receive the first opportunity for voluntary low census on holidays and Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, but would not be automatically scheduled off so that other nurses would have to work more. The Union is considering that proposal.

We reached a tentative agreement on the following:

  • Extending the uniform voucher program for the four-year term of the new CBA. UCMC has had this program in place for nurses and others for many years, and we are glad to maintain it for union nurses as well.
  • Allowing NNU to transfer representational rights to NNOC (another branch of the Union) and to move the side letter regarding the safe patient handling committee into the main agreement.

This is now the second and third sessions, and we truly appreciate the open dialogue. We will continue to negotiate in good faith and look forward to having the remainder of NNOC/NNU’s proposals for the next negotiation session, which is scheduled for April 15. I will continue to provide updates throughout the negotiation process on this site.

In the meantime, I want to thank you for all that you do for our patients, their families and your colleagues across the Medical Center. Have a great weekend.