This Week’s CBA Negotiations

This Week’s CBA Negotiations

As you know, we met with the NNOC/NNU yesterday, August 22.

Our bargaining team is back at the table and is focused on achieving a new contract for you again today. That is where contracts are reached.  At the bargaining table.

With NNOC/NNU’s month-long focus on picketing, striking patients and Ingalls nurses, the Union’s path is less clear. 

Here are the facts:

NNOC/NNU Claim The Facts
UCMC refuses to bargain economics. UCMC made its comprehensive opening wage and benefit offer on June 12. It was an opening offer, and UCMC has been open to continued movement as we make progress on thornier issues.  NNOC/NNU refused to counter UCMC or bargain wages and benefits until yesterday, two months later.  NNOC/NNU finally made a proposal yesterday, but already had printed the strike vote fliers that you received as soon as bargaining ended last night.  After taking two months, they could not wait overnight for UCMC’s response before drawing lines in the sand.Despite NNOC’s strike call, UCMC remains focused on the negotiating process and responded on economics today, inviting more discussion.
NNOC/NNU has to strike because UCMC has been dragging its feet. NNOC/NNU has focused on a strike for weeks, not bargaining: NNOC/NNU picketed on July 22, a day that could have been spent at the table.By July 25, and without waiting for further bargaining, NNOC/NNU began circulating “strike pledge” cards.   At the next bargaining session on August 8, NNOC/NNU demanded UCMC bargain for Ingalls nurses, and then walked to DCAM to hold  a press conference about Ingalls nurses, derailing bargaining for UCMC nursesUCMC has been waiting since July 9 for an NNOC/NNU response to its comprehensive proposal for newly represented nurses.  It made a counter this morning, but did not provide us language, only verbal statements that some things would need to be changed.  That took 6 weeks.  UCMC has been waiting since March for NNOC/NNU’s first proposal on seniority for newly represented nurses. We asked again today, but the Union only says it is a difficult issue.
UCMC won’t offer wage increases and insists on cuts UCMC made an opening proposal that includes wage increases of at least 6% over 4 years for all nurses. We have asked for changes in areas where we are not competitive, such as a freeze on “incentive” pay to work more hours. Base pay continues to increase We have emphasized that bargaining is a process.  But we need a partner interested in bargaining, not striking.

Despite NNOC/NNU’s focus on striking, UCMC will keep its focus on negotiating a contract for our nurses and the patients we serve. 

With the Union’s call for a strike vote, UCMC must regrettably plan to serve our patients without any of you here. To ensure that we can continue to care for all patients, we have engaged an outside firm to provide strike replacements for all represented nurses (including those who recently voted to join NNOC/NNU) in the event NNOC/NNU delivers on its threat to strike.

There is talk that some nurses might cross an NNOC/NNU picket line.  We appreciate and respect your commitment to patients. Unfortunately, patients must have certainty they will be cared for. Even if nurses intend to cross the line, they can change their minds at the last minute when they encounter their peers on the union’s picket line. We cannot maintain the care and safety for our patients with that kind of staffing uncertainty. As a result, we have no choice but to replace all nurses who are represented by NNOC/NNU. We will not have work for any of you during this period.

In order to recruit a sufficient number of replacement nurses to maintain care, UCMC was required to contract with the replacement agency for five (5) full shifts of work per nurse. That means we will not have work for NNOC/NNU represented nurses during the five (5) day period we have promised to your replacements. 

There is also a risk of additional days off due to low census before and after the strike.  We regret that. We always would prefer to have all of you here caring for our patients. But UCMC still has an obligation to our patients even when the Union asks you to walk out on them.

Hopefully, a strike can still be avoided.