Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Understanding our contact, Articles 13-16

Let's continue our study of our contract.
Article 13  Union Rights

The union president or their designee is granted time off to attend grievance meetings, arbitration meetings and other meetings dealing with the duties of the office.  In some cases these are paid time.
The union has 10 non paid days annually to attend union functions at the local, state or national level, distributed by the president, subject to patient care needs, but not unnecessarily withheld by the hospital.
Our union Field Representative, or other union representative has the right to admission to the hospital to administer this contract.
The hospital will provide bulletin boards in staff lounges for union use.  (coming soon)
A union delegate attending a Weingarten investigatory interview (when you are called to the office)will be paid. In addition, if an employee requests union representation when receiving discipline, it will be granted, even though it is not guaranteed under weingarten.  (this is a contractual right, not a legal right)

Bottom line of the last section is that if you are called to a meeting with a boss, and they start asking questions that could lead to discipline or if they are issuing you discipline, you have the right to union representation.


Article 14 Hours of Work
Take a meal break whenever possible.  When not possible let your clinical coordinator, director, or nursing supervisor know and have them OK it.
Management can change shift times and days but must bargain the effect on employees.

Article 15 Overtime
If you work over 40 hours a week or 9 hours a day you will be paid time and a half.
The hospital may mandate overtime only to the extent that it is consistent with Connecticut law.

Public Act No. 04-242Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:
Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2005)
(a) As used in this section:
(1) "Nurse" means a registered nurse or a practical nurse licensed pursuant to chapter 378 of the general statutes, or a nurse's aide registered pursuant to chapter 378a of the general statutes; and
(2) "Hospital" shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 19a-490 of the general statutes, as amended.
(b) No hospital may require a nurse to work in excess of a predetermined scheduled work shift, provided such scheduled work shift is determined and promulgated not less than forty-eight hours prior to the commencement of such scheduled work shift. Any nurse may volunteer or agree to work hours in addition to such scheduled work shift but the refusal by a nurse to accept such additional hours shall not be grounds for discrimination, dismissal, discharge or any other penalty or employment decision adverse to the nurse.
(c) The provisions of this section shall not apply: (1) To any nurse participating in a surgical procedure until such procedure is completed; (2) to any nurse working in a critical care unit until such nurse is relieved by another nurse who is commencing a scheduled work shift; (3) in the case of a public health emergency; (4) in the case of an institutional emergency, including, but not limited to, adverse weather conditions, catastrophe or widespread illness, that in the opinion of the hospital administrator will significantly reduce the number of nurses available for a scheduled work shift, provided the hospital administrator has made a good faith effort to mitigate the impact of such institutional emergency on the availability of nurses; or (5) to any nurse who is covered by a collective bargaining agreement that contains provisions addressing the issue of mandatory overtime.

Article 16 Schedules
 Request days off should be submitted 4 weeks prior to the start of the schedule, which will cover a 4 week period.  The schedule will be posted 2 weeks in advance.  Once it is posted, employees may volunteer to fill open shifts.  If more than one employee volunteers for an open shift, it will be filled by rotation, beginning with the most senior bargaining unit member as long as it doesn't result in overtime.  Shifts will be awarded no later than one week prior to the start of the schedule.  During the one week prior to the schedule, shifts can be filled by non bargaining unit members.

A word or two about hours of work and schedules.
During negotiations, and since then, the union has sought to continue what we feel is working.  Many departments self schedule. Many have people who have worked the same days of the week for years, or the same hours of the day for years. Some departments have worked it out so that they don't have to work every other weekend or holiday, but maybe every third.  This has worked out well and we sought no change. There is nothing in the contract that demands or requires a change.  In fact, we were able to get language that says under certain situations, the hospital must negotiate the effects of such a change on the nurses.

However, the hospital does retain most of the rights they they have always had to change hours and schedules.
So, it is important to understand that any changes that may be made to schedules is a result of decisions of the hospital and not a result of anything the union did or because it is required by the contract.  In fact, we will advocate for schedules to remain unchanged, and we will do whatever we are allowed under the contract terms to minimize any effect of any hospital decisions effecting schedules. 
If you have questions or concerns contact me, or one of the other officers.  Also, we have a meeting on August 7th for those interested in being delegates.  My hope is that this will greatly enhance communication.  If interested in attending, even if just to find out more, contact one of the officers.





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