Rochester General Hospital (RGH) and the Rochester Union of Nurses & Allied Professionals (RUNAP) met today for our 19th bargaining session since negotiations began in October of last year. The session began before 10 AM with the parties meeting separately with the federal mediator, and it ended at around 5:30 PM. As in recent past sessions, the Federal Mediator was present to assist the parties in their negotiations. Unfortunately, the parties did not enter into any Tentative Agreements today.
During the session, RGH presented two packages of proposals to address some of the open topics that RUNAP has indicated are most important. The first package focused on staffing and included:
- Staffing: RGH’s counterproposal maintained much of the hospital’s previous language, including that the Clinical Staffing Committee would establish staffing grids/ratios. However, RGH’s counterproposal also outlined additional commitments the Union and the hospital would take to address a staffing issue. The process outlined in the counterproposal specifies the timing for when the Union must file a staffing complaint, the time the hospital has to identify and implement a solution to address the complaint and the review period to determine if the hospital remained compliant once the solution was implemented.
- Temporary Reassignment (Floating): RGH’s revised counterproposal includes language to further define where RNs can and cannot be floated within the hospital, based on their clinical groups.
- Attendance and Tardiness: RGH maintained its previous counterproposal on this topic which defines excused absences, unexcused and unscheduled absences. RGH’s counterproposal also details the process to implement counseling or discipline for excessive unscheduled absences or tardiness.
- Low Census: RGH maintained its previous counterproposal on this topic, which details the process for temporarily reducing nursing staff on a unit if there are not enough patients to care for.
- Hours, Overtime, On-Call and Schedules: RGH maintained its previous counterproposal on this topic, which specifies working hours, meal breaks, overtime eligibility, on-call criteria, schedules and shift rotation efforts.
RGH’s second package of proposals included:
- Paid Leaves of Absence: In an effort to find areas of compromise with the Union and aid in retention, RGH’s counterproposal would allow nurses to add two additional unpaid shifts to approved bereavement leave for a member of their immediate family. RGH’s counterproposal also specifies that employees may take accrued vacation time to extend bereavement leave beyond the three days of paid leave the hospital previously proposed, and these requests will not be unreasonably denied.
- Unpaid Leaves of Absence: RGH made a minor change to this proposal and otherwise maintained its previous counterproposal on this topic which specifies the circumstances around unpaid leave, as well as return to work options for employees who take leave.
- Paid Sick Time: RGH maintained its previous counterproposal on this topic which states sick time and employee eligibility to use that time will be defined by the New York State Sick Leave law (NYSSL). RGH also maintained that sick time usage would be limited to 56 hours per year, which is consistent with current policy.
The Parties also Discussed Several Counterproposals from the Union, Including:
- Management Rights: RUNAP responded to RGH’s most recent counterproposal with more restrictive parameters around the hospital’s ability to manage operations.
- Union Security
- Temporary Reassignment (Floating): RUNAP responded to RGH’s package proposal with additional restrictions as to where RNs can and cannot be floated within the hospital, based on their clinical groups.
- Low Census: RUNAP responded to RGH’s package proposal by adding language that would allow nurses to choose HealthStream Learning rather than being cancelled.
- Attendance and Tardiness: RUNAP responded with its prior proposal on this subject, which would – unlike the RGH proposal – permit a 6-minute grace period for tardiness.
The parties agreed to hold a separate meeting focused solely on staffing with the hopes that we can work toward a workable solutions for both parties.
RGH and RUNAP are scheduled to meet again for bargaining on September 11, 2023. 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.