We wanted to provide a quick update on the state of our current contract negotiations. We realize that it has been a while since our previous update, but we have not made significant movements. While we entered these negotiations hopeful for a contract that provided nurses with equitable salaries to our competitors as well as safe staffing, we are now much less optimistic. The hospital has requested mediators to be present at our next negotiation sessions, to which we have agreed. We meet again with the hospital with both federal and state mediators present on 6/29 and 6/30.
Our requests are simple:
- We have asked for pay parity with our competitors in the market, which we know are offering anywhere from $5 to $8 more per hour to nurses who leave CHI St. Vincent to work there, and $4 more an hour to new graduate RNs. The hospital’s last offer was a 6% increase in year one, and 1% in years 2 and 3 of the contract. APRNs were offered even less under the hospital proposal.
- We have asked for safe staffing ratios, with flexibility to go outside of ratios with a premium differential payment under emergency circumstances. The hospital declined ratios and instead proposed for us to talk about staffing more.
- We have asked for a cap on cost increases for benefits at 1% per year, with no significant change in plan design. They have rejected this proposal.
- We asked for all nurses to be eligible to participate in clinical ladder. The hospital rejected this, and proposed instead that they would consider it in the future.
- We have asked for there to be limitations on forced floating outside of a nurses’ pod, with penalties in the form of increased float pay if forced floating was required. The hospital rejected this proposal.
At this point, we have reached agreements on only a handful of proposals. The full list of proposals and their full text can be found by clicking here.
It’s Time to Take Action!
While we remain cautiously optimistic that our upcoming bargaining sessions with the hospital and mediators will produce meaningful conversation and movement in regards to fair wages, staffing, and benefits, we need to show administration that we are ready to come together to demand a better working environment for nurses at CHI St. Vincent. Take a moment to complete our “Take Action!” survey below so we can gather information to help us take action. The survey is imbedded below, or can be accessed by clicking here.
We have been approached by many individuals asking about a strike or the possibility of one given the momentum across the country with nurses in other areas taking action. We do not believe we are to that point yet. However, we do want to address some of your questions regarding how strikes work, when they are used, and how OPEIU supports striking workers in a future video update.
We will provide a future update as bargaining progresses. If you are interested in participating in a town-hall style meeting, or a drop-in meeting where you can ask us questions, please let us know through our “Take Action!” survey above.
OPEIU Local 22