Rochester General Hospital (RGH) and the Rochester Union of Nurses & Allied Professionals (RUNAP) met today for our eleventh bargaining session since negotiations began in October. The session began at 10 a.m. and ended shortly after 4 p.m., with both sides discussing numerous issues as they work towards a first collective bargaining agreement.
RGH made a significant offer to increase RGH wages. RGH offered a 6% wage increase for all RNs that would become effective next month on July 16, 2023. RGH planned this increase for all RRH RNs in the Finger Lakes Region to help recruit, retain and remain competitive.
Under our offer, RGH and RUNAP will continue to negotiate economic and non-economic proposals, but any contractual wage increases would take effect on June 1, 2024 or later so we can stabilize the system financially and so we can carefully review other changes to our compensation structure. RGH also offered to include RUNAP in any other system wage program increase for RNs that may occur between now and June 2024.
Unfortunately, RUNAP rejected the offer and declined to include the RUNAP nurses in the wage increase. The reason they gave was because they did not agree that future contractual wage increases would only take effect after June 1, 2024.
RGH also made 13 new counterproposals on many of the outstanding non-economic issues on the table. One of these counterproposals related to Parking, which RUNAP accepted and so we were able to come to a tentative agreement on this topic today. Under the Parking provision, RGH will provide free parking to all RUNAP nurses for the term of the contract.
RGH also shared a presentation with the union about the accomplishments, strategies and challenges of ongoing nurse recruitment. RUNAP’s team asked a number of questions and this led to a detailed and productive discussion.
During the Session, in addition to the 6% wage increase proposal made by RGH, the Parties Discussed the Following Counterproposals from RGH:
- Temporary Reassignment (Floating): RGH presented a revised counterproposal detailing when, how and the necessary qualifications needed to determine when nurses would float from unit to unit to ensure adequate staffing.
- Health and Safety, Equipment and Supplies: RGH revised its counterproposal to state that the hospital will conduct an annual facility risk assessment and that a member of RUNAP’s Executive Committee would regularly attend meetings with the newly formed Workplace Violence Committee to discuss health and safety.
- Parking: RGH revised its proposal to provide for free parking for the life of the labor contract and to clarify that employees must adhere to RGH parking policies.
- Uniforms and Dress Code: RGH revised its counterproposal to specify the expectations for nurse apparel and accessories as well as general appearance and hygiene.
- Agency and Travel Personnel: RGH’s counterproposal clarifies how the hospital will utilize agency RN personnel to ensure quality patient care when open RN positions remain open for extended periods or staffing cannot be adequately met by bargaining unit nurses.
- Personnel Files and Evaluations: RGH presented an updated counterproposal that details how performance evaluations and personnel files will be handled.
- Unpaid Leaves of Absence: RGH’s counterproposal specifies paid and unpaid leave circumstances and return to work options.
- No Strike or Lockout: RGH presented a counterproposal with revised language to ensure there are no strikes or lockouts during the term of the collective bargaining agreement.
- Grievance and Arbitration: RGH’s counterproposal outlines the definition and procedures for the grievance and arbitration processes.
- Agreement Scope and Recognition: RGH revised its prior proposal that defines which employees are represented by RUNAP.
- Layoff and Recall: RGH’s revised counterproposal specifies how nurses may be impacted by layoffs and how those nurses could be recalled to work.
- Successorship: RGH’s counterproposal specifies that the hospital would provide the union with 30-day notice in the event of a sale, merger or change in ownership of the hospital.
- Committees: RGH’s counterproposal specifies which committees RUNAP would participate in and how those committees would operate.
The Parties also discussed a new Counterproposal from the Union:
RUNAP provided RGH with a new counterproposal on Hours, Overtime, On-Call & Schedules. RGH is reviewing this proposal and will respond at a future session.
RGH and RUNAP are scheduled to meet again for bargaining on June 15 and July 13. We will issue another update following each of those sessions 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.