Update on Saturday’s Negotiations with NNOC/NNU

Update on Saturday’s Negotiations with NNOC/NNU

UCMC’s negotiating team and a federal mediator returned to the Medical Center Saturday morning prepared to continue working on a contract for you and for our patients.

I had hoped that the union’s leaders would table their national agenda and turn to substantive talks focused on reaching agreement on a new contract for UCMC nurses that would prevent the strike the union has called for this Friday. The union’s leaders promised yesterday that they would have a comprehensive response to our latest proposal today and asked to speak with us from San Francisco beginning at 10 a.m. this morning.

Regrettably, they disappointed us again. The UCMC bargaining team, and the federal mediator, waited all day for the promised response from the union’s leaders, who are still attending the NNOC/NNU international conference in San Francisco this weekend. We received nothing from them for more than 10 hours, until 8:30 p.m. tonight, at which point they left for a union awards dinner at their conference.

Here is the outcome of today’s negotiations: There was no bargaining and no progress toward a new contract that would prevent the strike that union leaders have called for Friday. 

The union leaders’ proposals made no progress toward reaching an agreement.  They did not meaningfully address the core issues that divide us as we had hoped and expected. In fact, the union leaders backtracked in some areas.

As you know from my update a week ago, UCMC made movement and a significant offer on Friday, September 6.  We invited NNOC/NNU to move past their national agenda, compromise and meet us half way.  After keeping UCMC and our nurses waiting for more than a week, the union’s leaders said no.

There are no further dates for bargaining scheduled before the strike called by  NNOC/NNU for Friday, a labor disruption that will last for five days. We understand that the NNOC/NNU leaders and bargaining team are scheduled to travel back from their San Francisco conference on Sunday. We may hear from them then.

Sadly, we are losing precious time. We continue to prepare for the five-day strike, which starts this Friday. In preparation for the strike, we communicated yesterday that the Adult Emergency Department and Comer Children’s Hospital Emergency Department are now on Ambulance Diversion to Advanced Life Support Transports. The Medical Center was also closed to all external transfers to new patients, and we have begun flexing to adjust to a declining census.

I will update you further soon. But I must say that it was dispiriting to see how little respect the leadership of the NNOC/NNU seems to have for you, our patients and the communities that we serve.