Remember that we gave them a complete contract proposal in late July and that they have only responded to about one third of it.
We met last night after 2 weeks off. They had given us some counter proposals and we responded to them.
We agreed to keep shift differential as it is contingent on an acceptable counter on our over time proposal.
We had proposed $8/hour weekend differential which would bring us in line with other area hospitals and with what we had prior to all the cuts a few years ago (20% at that time). They told us last time that this was too far from the current $4.25/hour to even discuss it. We countered last night with $6/hour.
We agreed to maintain charge nurse differential at $1.25 an hour with a clause that says they will never claim that relief charge nurses are supervisors and therefor ineligible for the union.
We came to agreement on Bereavement, Jury Duty, and Court Appearance.
They had countered On-Call Status last time with a proposal that said the nurse must "report to the hospital as instructed within thirty minutes of the hospital's attempt to contact him or her. Not complying with the requirements of this section of this article is just cause for termination and is not subject to the grievance and arbitration provisions of this agreement."
We countered with a proposal that said "the employee would be subject to discipline up to and including discharge except in a case of an unavoidable documented event or a documented emergency where the employee was medically unable to call. In the event that the employee on call lives beyond 30 minutes from the hospital he/she shall have the 30 minute call period adjusted to accommodate the employee's ability to arrive safely to the hospital."
We asked if they had any new counter proposals for us to consider, they did not.
They then took a 3 hour caucus to look at our counters. Since they had given us no new counter proposals, there was nothing for us to consider.
When they came back they gave us a new counter on weekend differential of 10%.
They held on their proposal on 30 minutes or termination.
After 7 months to consider our proposals, 2 weeks since the last negotiations and a 3 hour caucus.......
that's what they came back with.
What followed was a long discussion in which nurse after nurse spoke and tried to explain how their proposals were unworkable and would hurt hospital operations, nurse recruitment and retention and patient safety.
We took a short caucus and then gave them counters which they will consider and we will discuss on Thursday.
That brings me back to my original statement, do they not understand or are they stalling?
It probably doesn't matter.
The way it is now, without a contract, we have no voice.
The hospital lawyer is trying to negotiate a contract that changes this as little as possible.
We will get nothing without a fight.
I am willing to fight.
The negotiating team is willing to fight.
That is what we must all ask ourselves. Do we care about our hospital, our patients and our families enough to do what is needed to pressure them into a reasonable and fair contract?
I cannot answer this for you.
Attendance at negotiations does matter. Wearing buttons and stickers does matter. Attending rallies and informational picketing does matter. Community out reach does matter. It all matters. If we demonstrate strength we negotiate a contract that is good for us, the hospital and our patients.
In 1961 JFK challenged us to step up and act. He said "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.......ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
I'm saying this. Don't ask me or the committee what we will get for you, ask what you can do to help get it. This is your union.