Rochester General Hospital (RGH) and the Rochester Union of Nurses & Allied Professionals (RUNAP) met yesterday for our 14th bargaining session since negotiations began in October of last year. The session began at 10:30 AM and ended shortly before 9 PM. During yesterday’s session, a Federal Mediator was present to assist the parties in their negotiations.
In an effort to move toward an agreement, RGH presented a comprehensive package of new counterproposals during yesterday’s session to address issues that have been identified by both parties as important ones:
- Wages: To address RUNAP’s concern about wage compression, RGH presented a revised counterproposal to implement a flat rate scale model and provide the vast majority of RNs with an average 6.5% wage increase upon ratification of the contract with a 3% increase in year two and another 3% increase in year three, for a total average increase of over 12% over the life of the contract.
Because nurses are at various points on the current wage scale, the exact increases for each impacted nurse will range from 3.3% to 8.8% at ratification. In addition, a small number of nurses would not receive increases as their current rate exceeds what the nurse would receive through the new wage scale.
RGH’s counterproposal also implements separate titles of Wound RN and Certified Wound RN into the new step schedule. Finally, RGH’s counterproposal maintained the position to eliminate the current STAR program and replace it with a Longevity Bonus. The Longevity Bonus provides nurses with an annual $2,000 bonus after reaching both 20 years of service at RRH and 20 years of licensure.
- Differentials: RGH’s counterproposal maintains the existing Shift Differential rates but accepts RUNAP’s language to expand the Weekend Zones to start on Friday evening and end on Sunday night. RGH also proposed to increase its Weekend Program differential from $6.50 to $7.00.
- Staffing and Floating: RGH presented a counterproposal that detailed which nurses can be temporarily reassigned to which units. The hospital also proposed to work with RUNAP to create a committee to formulate the establishment of a Rapid Response Team.
RUNAP responded with new set of counterproposals as well. RUNAP’s wage counterproposal contained a lowered wage request as compared to its earlier wage proposal. RUNAP also submitted a proposal on the Rapid Response Team issue addressed above, and a new Differential proposal with new rates and language on this subject.
After further discussion, RGH presented a second wage counterproposal with additional increases, an increased Differential counterproposal, and a new counterproposal on the Rapid Response Team issue.
The parties were able to reach a tentative agreement on the Rapid Response Team.
RGH and RUNAP are scheduled to meet again for bargaining on July 26 and August 1. We will issue another update following each 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.