Happy New Year!
We wanted to bring you a summary of where things stand at the beginning of 2015. As of today, we have been negotiating in good faith with Bill Cruice of PASNAP and the Crozer-Chester Nurses Association bargaining team for more than nine months. We are committed, as we have always been, to negotiating a fair contract with the nurses of Crozer-Chester Medical Center.
* * *
At our very first bargaining session on April 7, we identified a set of changes we “must have” in a new contract to ensure the long-term viability of Crozer-Chester Medical Center. These included the following:
- A new and more competitive wage structure;
- Elimination or reduction of costly and non-competitive pay premiums, such as extra-shift bonuses, “double backs,” and double-time for the first overtime shift;
- Reduction by attrition of the Weekend Program and reduction of weekend rates that are currently $56.78 and $61.82 an hour;
- A hard freeze of the Defined Benefit (DB) Pension Plan and transfer of participants into the Defined Contribution (DC) Plan;
- An end of the employer match to the Tax Sheltered Annuity, beginning with employee contributions made in 2015, as well ending retiree medical, retiree life insurance, and sick leave payout on retirement for grandfathered nurses;
- A common health plan including wellness, a smoker surcharge and an increased spousal surcharge; and
- Priority on patient care when scheduling holidays, vacations, leaves and other time off.
We were clear up front about these needs, and we have not wavered from them because we cannot. These changes are required if the Medical Center is to meet its commitment to provide for the health needs of our community.
* * *
Our last comprehensive contract offer – our “Best Offer” – was made on Oct. 8, 2014. This “Best Offer” would have maintained the existing experience-based rates for the duration of a three-year contract dating back to June 2014, even though they are over the market and over the new proposed wage scale. However, this “Best Offer” was subject to the Union’s acceptance and ratification within a reasonable time.
The Union dismissed these concessions and did not offer any counterproposals that met the economic “must haves” we need to ensure the Medical Center’s long-term viability.
* * *
The Union recently proposed January 8 and 13 for further bargaining. We are unavailable on the 8th because we are already committed to bargaining with EMS personnel represented by PASNAP, but we have agreed to meet on January 13 if the Federal Mediator is available.