We have been working hard to negotiate a new contract for RNs. Unfortunately, despite our offer to meet throughout the summer, PASNAP has been unwilling to meet more than five times since the contract expired on June 8th. We have one more date next Monday, August 25th. The next month is critical to the bargaining process.
While PASNAP has been too busy to negotiate a new contract, they have found time to file labor charges against the Medical Center with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). It is not unusual for unions to file such charges in order to pressure an employer at the bargaining table. That is what the Union tried to do here.
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PASNAP filed three sets of charges with as many as nine claims against Crozer. PASNAP said we violated the law by…
- establishing a “Vision Day committee” to discuss nursing practice issues;
- working with nurse practice councils to improve laboratory collection procedures, determine how to assess whether a critical care patient required 1:1 observation, and develop acuity tools to assess medical-surgical patients;
- acting on nurse recommendations that OR nurses wear long-sleeve jackets to avoid infections; and similar issues.
Out of the nine claims, the Board found that seven were either without merit or should be referred to routine contract arbitration. The Board raised concerns with only two of PASNAP’s claims. While no formal complaint has been issued by the Board against Crozer, the Medical Center has decided to resolve these two issues completely through an informal settlement agreement.
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In the first claim, PASNAP alleged that we violated union rights when we asked picketers to move out of the congested patient pickup and drop-off area during a protest on June 3.
The second claim involved “step increases.” Since the now-expired contract specified that step increases were to be paid “during the Term of this Agreement,” we stopped paying them after the contract expired. In their preliminary determination, the Board disregarded the contract language and agreed with the Union that the steps should be paid until an agreement has been reached with the Union or a lawful impasse in negotiations occurs.
We agreed to settle these issues with the Board to avoid further distractions to the bargaining process. We intend to fully comply with the settlement by paying the step increases the Board thinks we should pay and by posting and complying with a notice prepared by the NLRB.
We hope PASNAP will now turn its focus to negotiations, and work with us to bargain a contract that is fair and sustainable.