Bargaining Update: Management Takes Aim at Step Raises, COLA

bargainingsession1As bargaining for the 2014-2017 contract opened July 1, management announced that Jackson is expecting a $22 million surplus this year — then proposed freezing steps for three more years, no COLA and several other concessions aimed at our pocketbooks!

Management’s proposal:

  • No COLAs for three more years
  • No step advancement for three years
  • Zero salary increase the first year and 2 percent each in years two and three (those who have reached maximum salary range would get a lump sum bonus)
  • No education days for nurses
  • A lump sum bonus if JHS exceeds its budgeted surplus
  • Eliminate $1000 flex contribution annually
  • Eliminate $10 bi-weekly flex contribution toward JMH HMO
  • Eliminate the 4-3 agreement. Only those who currently have a 4-3 schedule could keep it

During a lengthy and sometimes testy bargaining session, President Martha Baker, RN, and the team refuted management’s basic premise that Jackson needs to continue concessions.

Local 1991 is still collecting information from members about bargaining priorities. It’s important that every member fills out the survey to give us data at the table! Find the survey here.

Management claimed that it can’t return concessions due back on Sept. 30, 2014, due in part to expected changes in reimbursement for Medicaid funding in 2015. Classic scare tactics.

Baker pointed out that rather than automatically plugging budget holes on the backs of employees, management should look first at the millions that would be saved by implementing strategic efficiencies.

“There’s a lot of money to be saved in overtime,” President Baker pointed out. “These caregivers are leaving. You’re losing $24 million by training these employees and letting them go out the door. You need a strategic staffing plan.”

Esther Cazo, RN, an OR nurse at Jackson South, said she was the perfect example of how inadequate staffing is both costly to the bottom line and draining on employees.

“I worked 14.5 hours overtime last week,” she said. “We call it the quota of the week. We try to keep morale up and help each other out, but it’s tough.”

MICU nurse Barbara Scollon, RN, reported that several newer nurses have left the MICU recently to make $3 more an hour at UM.

President Baker pointed out again and again that JHS is paying 400 FTEs of overtime every pay period because of understaffing.

“Management should be telling us they NEED to give us step raises so they can retain newer employees,” she said.

The next bargaining session is July 30. Fill out the survey!

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