Rochester General Hospital (RGH) and the Rochester Union of Nurses & Allied Professionals (RUNAP) met today for our eighth bargaining session since negotiations began in October. The session began at 10:45 a.m. and ended at approximately 3:00pm, with both sides discussing several issues as they work towards a first collective bargaining agreement.
Importantly, both sides are now exchanging economic and staffing proposals, so the negotiations are moving to a significant new phase.
During the Session, the Parties Discussed the Following Counterproposals/Proposal from RGH:
- Wages: After thoroughly reviewing RUNAP’s wage proposal, RGH rejected it for the reasons outlined below and presented its own counterproposal. In RUNAP’s proposal, while nurses with eight or fewer years of experience would see significant wage increases, the wages for nurses with between 12-20 years of experience would only increase by a much lower amount and all nurses would have a flat rate after 20 years of experience was reached. Additionally, RUNAP’s proposal doesn’t include a differential between Critical Care/ED and other Acute Care areas.
On the other hand, RGH’s proposal builds on the hospital’s financial commitment to employees by increasing nurse base wages by 3% per year for three years. It would also maintain a higher rate for ED and ICU nurses. RGH also proposed a rate structure for future new hires. RUNAP indicated that they rejected RGH’s proposal without changing their initial position on wages.
- Staffing: RGH presented a staffing proposal in which the hospital would agree to maintain a clinical staffing committee in accordance with New York State law, which would include up to four (4) RUNAP-elected RNs. The clinical staffing committee would follow the structure, composition, responsibilities, processes and guidelines dictated by New York State law to establish a clinical staffing plan that will be posted on each patient care unit. In the event of any potential violations of the adoption or implementation of the clinical staffing plan, those would be addressed by the clinical staffing committee or during the proposed Labor Management meetings between RGH and RUNAP. RUNAP responded by indicating it maintains its original staffing proposal, but with the addition of similar language regarding the New York State Clinical Staffing law. The Union proposed that one representative from each unit would be placed on the clinical staffing committee.
- Uniforms and Dress Code: RGH submitted a proposal that details the specific expectations for employees’ attire, hygiene and appearance while on duty at the hospital. For example, under the proposal, employees must wear RRH-issued badges at all times, must wear scrubs in accordance with the specifications outlined in the collective bargaining agreement, ensure jewelry does not interfere with effectively performing job functions and wear clean and appropriate shoes. Additionally, employees’ appearance should be neat, clean and professional at all times. RUNAP presented a counterproposal that removed much of the RGH-proposed language, specifically regarding scrubs and uniforms, general appearance and hygiene, offensive tattoos and hair restrictions, as well as language regarding potential religious accommodations.
RGH and RUNAP are scheduled to meet again for bargaining on Tuesday, April 11. We will issue another update following that session to keep you informed. You can sign up to receive email or text alerts when a new bargaining update is posted to the website and also submit any questions. Please visit www.RGHNursesMatter.org for more information.