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September 23, 2021 Bargaining Update

PECSH-MNA met with the Employer today to provide them with our initial Economic Proposal. Most notably, your team proposed increases in PTO accrual, differentials and wages and maintenance of our existing health insurances.

Specific to wages, your team proposed massive wage increases as the current wages of our nurses and healthcare professionals are unacceptable and, in many cases, below market. Not a day passes where our members don’t receive a communication from outside agencies requesting their skills elsewhere for a significant amount of money. Money talks and we want to keep it from talking our members right out the Employer’s front doors and through someone else’s.

Nothing has been done for retention. Despite multiple efforts made by your leadership team, Administration has yet to thank any of us for the time, effort, and loyalty we’ve given to the organization over the past 18 months. The “Bonus Program(s)” are not retention efforts. We are losing valuable staff to healthcare staffing agencies every day. Sparrow must step up and do better by the caregivers on which they rely.

Your team proposed maintaining Longevity, Top-of-Scale and Gainsharing bonuses as well as having the Employer operationalize the disbursement of short-staffing funds directly to the shorted units in their checks. We also proposed higher PTO accrual rates for both our hourly members and Salaried members, as well as the availability of health insurance for retirees with 25 years of service to the health system.

Regarding health insurance, your team proposed maintaining health plans as designed with decreases to our employee contributions, better dental & vision coverage and better pharmacy accessibility.

Considering the staffing problems departments have experienced, your team proposed adding additional “holidays,” non-holiday-holiday premium pay and creative use of our Weekend Staffing plan.

Employer proposed:

Article 10 – Employee Status – proposed increasing the number of hours needed to work in order to be eligible for employer-provided benefits throughout their economic proposal. The increase would be from 32hrs to 48hrs per pay period, making things more difficult for those caregivers who carry benefits for their families.

Article 31 – Health Insurance - proposal maintaining our current plans and premium contributions for the 2022 benefits year. For years 2023 and 2024, the Employer proposed maintaining Sparrow MNA PPO Plan, as designed, with an increased contribution of 19% for FT but a significant increase to 28% for PT members. For the same benefit years, they also proposed adding a PPO Base plan and changing the BCBS Sparrow plan design with a base flat rate of 20% of the premium costs. We are awaiting their plan documents.

Article 37 – Vacation-Salaried Employees – The Employer proposed a 7-day elimination period for salaried employees when off due to personal injury or illness. This would be an increase from the 3-day elimination period currently. This did not coincide with any proposal from them increasing the PTO accrual rate for our salaried members.

Article 46 – Overtime – The Employer proposed changing the overtime plan for any new caregivers starting or transferring to a new position to 40 hours in one week, eliminating daily incidental overtime.

Article 47 – Differentials – The Employer proposed increasing the evening, night and weekend shift differentials to $2.50/hr, $3.50/hr and $2/hr respectively. They also proposed converting the Critical Care differential to the Bedside Nurse Differential at $0.25/hr, to include all RNs providing direct patient care.

Article 49 – On-Call Pay – the Employer maintained their proposal to require on-call for both open and closed units.

Article 52 – Wages – the Employer offered a 1% general wage increase for each year of a 3-year agreement and 1.25% progression/step increase for each year. The Employer also proposed maintaining Longevity, Top-of-Scale and Gainsharing bonuses for the length of the agreement.

Article 59 – Scheduling/Work Assignments – the Employer proposed changing our priority to work language to allow for our members to work over agency provided the hours are scheduled for regular, extra, on-call and OT hours prior to the start of the schedule. They also proposed combining Workgroups, leaving them the ability to name and place units based on their needs and without involvement of staff.

Article 62 – Staffing – The Employer proposed changes to our Staffing Concerns Procedure for the length of this agreement but maintain current contract language for future use (if bargained). They proposed front-loading, but no longer evaluating short-staffing, while utilizing an account in which a set amount would be deposited for them to use to focus on recruitment and retention of caregivers. The Employer also suggested combining the Intermediate and Med-Surg float pools into one for the Adult Acute Care units.

Appendix A – The Employer proposed merging the Stepdown and Med-Surg units into two grids representing a 1:4 ratio for nursing staff.

They also gave us a proposal on Article 12 concerning ADM/Supervisor seniority when coming back to the bargaining unit and organizing the contract language to closer fit the practice in the rare occasion of an hours reduction.

They also moved on their proposal to control units which are closed, identifying RNIC/Special care Nursery, Pediatrics, PICU, General Surgery, Medical Rehabilitation (Mary Free Bed) and Emergency Department. They continue to propose taking the right to vote on open and closed from our members. They also want the right to float people to ED to take patients for their department or float them as a Helper to another department. Under this proposal their would be no limit to AA’s.

Your BAT crew delivered the Safe Staffing Petition to President & CEO Jim Dover in the SPB C-Suite this afternoon. He refused to meet with the delegation and the VP of HR instructed them to leave the boxes on the floor outside the suite door.

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