Today was our first bargaining session since the nurses returned from the strike on September 26th. In this session, the Union made no new proposals, and it did not propose any further bargaining dates. By comparison, Crozer-Chester Medical Center presented a new “Best Offer” with incentives to get the Union to settle by October 17.
Highlights of the new package include the following:
- The Medical Center proposed a new, five-year contract.
- We offered to drop our proposal for pay cuts affecting the highest paid nurses as part of an overall contract settlement. These cuts would have saved the Medical Center almost $14 million over five years.
- Those paid more than the new scale would be red-circled to protect their income levels for the next 5 years. On top of their salaries they also would get two percent (2%) of their salaries paid in a lump sum in 2017 and 2018.
- Nurses covered by the new scale would get yearly increases to their step rates starting in 2015.
- The Medical Center would delay freezing the pension plan until June of 2015. Plus, we offered the Union a choice of retirement plan contributions based on either age or seniority.
- Weekend Program would continue and nurses would get a weekend hourly rate of $54.15 for days and $59.18 for nights. Those whose regular rates exceed the new weekend rates would get the higher rate.
- While the Medical Center reserves the right to end the Weekend Program for substantial operational or economic reasons, nurses would be protected by the recent displacement agreement regarding notice, bumping rights, and severance if applicable.
- The parties agreed they are not that far apart on health insurance.
- Despite the recent strike, management will not back down on eliminating certain costly pay premiums, such as double time, double-backs, and extra shift bonuses.
If the parties do not reach a ratified agreement by October 17, however, Crozer reserves the right to pull these concessions off the table and return to its September 17th proposal. Since the Union has not even proposed bargaining before October 17th, it seems unlikely that the Union will meet this deadline.
We certainly encourage the Union to return to the bargaining table before October 17th to take advantage of this more favorable settlement opportunity. A copy of our new “Best Offer” is posted here.