Rochester General Hospital (RGH) and the Rochester Union of Nurses & Allied Professionals (RUNAP) met today for our 20th bargaining session since negotiations began in October of last year. The session began just after 10am and ended around 5:30pm. During today’s session, a Federal Mediator was present to assist the parties in their negotiations.
This session followed a productive working session on August 30th focused on staffing at which representatives from RGH and RUNAP participated and discussed both parties staffing proposals.
While RGH had hoped to reach some Tentative Agreements with the union after none were reached in the August 17th session, unfortunately, today the parties were not able to come to any Tentative Agreements. However, RUNAP did present movement on their wage proposal and a number of other proposals.
During the session, RGH presented a package of 13 counterproposals to address some of the open topics that RUNAP has indicated are most important. RGH’s package of proposals included:
- Insurance Benefits: RGH’s counterproposal includes Health, Dental, Vision and Life Insurance coverage that represents the same offerings as those provided to all other employees of the RRH healthcare system, with the addition of a 30-day notice period to RUNAP for impacted employees prior to any changes being made. Eligibility to receive benefits for full- and part-time nurses who are regularly scheduled to work a minimum of twenty (20) hours per week will remain the same.
RGH also proposed that current 2023 Health, Dental, Vision and Life Insurance rates will remain the same for all RUNAP-represented employees for the remainder of 2023 and will not increase more than 7% in a single calendar year for each succeeding years of the agreement. The proposal also stated that bargaining unit employees are required to use RRH or mail order pharmacies to access all prescriptions, with any exceptions that may be outlined in the healthcare plans offered by RRH.
- Holidays: RGH proposed to provide eight paid holidays after RUNAP dropped its request at an earlier bargaining session for an additional holiday.
- Vacation: To recognize the service and commitment of our longer-tenured nurses, RGH maintained its prior proposal to increase the annual accrual for employees with 15-24 years of service by one day, and 25+ years of service by one day.
- Retirement Benefits: RGH maintained its previous counterproposal on this topic, with a significant change that all bargaining unit nurses hired on or before ratification of the collective bargaining agreement who meet plan eligibility requirements will be grandfathered into the existing defined benefit pension plan and that all newly hired RUNAP employees will be offered the same retirement options as non-RUNAP employees.
- The other proposals in this package included:
- Wages – maintaining proposal from August 1
- Clinical Ladder – maintaining proposal from April 11
- Differentials – maintaining proposal from July 19
- Paid Sick Time – maintaining proposal from February 16
- Paid Leaves – maintaining proposal from February 16
- Unpaid Leaves – maintaining proposal from June 1
- Per Diem Program and Compensation – maintaining proposal from April 11
- Tuition/Inservice/Conferences – maintaining proposal from July 13
- Certifications – maintaining proposal from April 11
RGH also resubmitted its package proposal of Management Rights and Union Security from August 11 in the hopes to get to an understanding on these two key proposals.
The Parties also discussed a new set of counterproposals from the Union, including a package proposal with the following items:
- Wages: The Union provided a counter preproposal that slightly decreases the proposed hourly and salaried rates for RNs.
- Staffing: The Union modified its proposal on Staffing by, among other changes, providing 30 days to cure a staffing guideline violation if the parties agree that the preferred cure is obtaining an agency nurse.
- Medical Insurance Benefits: The Union modified its proposal to lower the current employee portions for each level of the Copay Plan and the CDHD plan by 15% rather than their prior proposal to reduce contributions by 25%.
- Vacation: The Union slightly modified its vacation proposal by lowering the proposed vacation accrual rates for employees at certain years of service levels.
- Differentials: The Union reduced their request for Weekend Night differential pay from $7.50 to $6.50 per hour.
- As a part of the package, the Union maintained its proposal on Temporary Reassignment, Staffing Incentive Program, Holidays, Clinical Ladder, Retirement Benefits, Paid Sick Time, Paid Leaves, Unpaid Leaves of Absence, Per Diem Compensation, Tuition In-Service and Conferences, and Certifications.
RGH and RUNAP are scheduled to meet again for bargaining on September 21st and 27th. An additional working session to further discuss staffing will be held, likely prior to the next bargaining session. We will issue updates 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.