After a two-month break in negotiations for RNs at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, and in light of the ratification of a labor contract by RNs at Taylor Hospital, we opened negotiations on February 17 with a new and improved offer. This new offer provides:
- Continuation of existing step increases through June 8, 2015;
- New wage steps starting in the second year of the contract with 5% in bonuses for those not eligible for steps;
- Increased contributions to the Defined Contribution Retirement Plan, based on age, of up to 6.25% of annual base salary after the Defined Benefit Pension Plan is frozen July 1, 2015;
- Additional contributions to the Defined Contribution Retirement Plan, based upon years of service, of 2%, 4%, or 6% for RNs age 58 years or older with at least ten years of service; and
- An enhanced Health Insurance proposal with yearly caps on premium increases, guaranteed continuation of both enhanced and basic plans, and limits on future changes.
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In addition, if a contract is ratified on or before March 31, 2015 we are offering a one-time Voluntary Layoff Incentive Program for RNs age 55 years or older with at least ten years of service who qualify for Early Retirement.
In contrast to the 2011-2014 collective bargaining agreement, which requires RNs to be age 60 years or older with at least 15 years of service in order to qualify for medical and life insurance benefits, this one-time Voluntary Layoff Incentive Program lowers the eligibility requirements while also providing severance benefits. The benefits include:
- Pension Benefits from the Crozer-Keystone Retirement Plan;
- Early Retirement Medical and Life Insurance at 50% of cost for the RN and spouse;
- Payment for earned but unused vacation and sick hours[*]; and
- Severance pay of two weeks plus an additional week for each three years of service, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.
Again, this program will only be offered if a contract based on our “Best Offer” is ratified by March 31, 2015. After nine months of negotiations, we believe this most recent “Best Offer” is also our best chance for finally settling this contract dispute.
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The Union told us that they would need more time to respond to our comprehensive proposal. We hope they come prepared to finalize a contract at our next negotiation session, now scheduled for February 24, 2015.
[*]Payment of earned but unused vacation in accordance with Article 9: Vacation and payment of sick hours accrued above 240 hours to a maximum of 240 hours (30 days) in accordance with Article 11: Sick Leave.