Alameda Health System and SEIU-RN bargaining unit met on June 9, 2020 and June 23, 2020 for continued negotiations for a successor contract. Over the course of these two sessions, AHS submitted a combination of over 21 proposals and responses to SEIU’s RN bargaining team. Conversely, SEIU passed five proposals.
Among the initial proposals and responses from AHS to SEIU include:
Article 4 – Shop Stewards
AHS has proposed: The Union shall reserve the right to designate the method of selection of shop stewards. The Union shall be allowed to designate one (1) steward for every 100 FTE in the bargaining unit, none of whom shall be from the same unit and shift.
This proposal allows up to approximately nine (9) employees to serve as union stewards and receive their full compensation while released from their duties for up to 8 hours per pay period.
SEIU is demanding that there be up to 70 stewards with no cap on the number of hours they can be away from work so that stewards may work on grievances. Such a practice would severely impact patient care and operations since stewards would continue to receive full compensation yet be away from their departments. This could result in departments having to pay twice for the work that needs to be done – (1) paying the employee who is not at work on steward time; and (2) potential cost of backfill, or burdening employees to help cover for the absent employee. With no limitation on the hours that a steward can be out, this burden can be paralyzing.
Article 7 – Holidays
AHS has proposed a continuation of the currently observed holidays. Currently, employees working a full-time schedule of 8 hours per day are subject to the contractual requirement that their holiday is worth “1/10 of an employee’s time spent in paid status during such pay period.” This in effect means that an employee with an 8-hour schedule gets the paid holiday, which is worth 20% of the week, but must work another 80% in order to remain whole for the week. Conversely, the employee working a 12-hour shift gets the holiday pay at 12 hours, which constitutes 33% of their week and only needs to work 66% of their week in order to remain whole. This results in an unfair advantage for those assigned a 12-hour week. In order to remedy this unfair advantage, AHS has proposed that all employees, regardless of shift type are subject to the calculation that a “holiday is worth “1/10 of an employee’s time spent in paid status during such pay period.” This equitable recalibration means that an 8-hour (80 hours per pay period) employee would continue to get their 8 hours of holiday pay and the 12-hour (72 hours per pay period) employee would get 7.2 hours of holiday pay, which is 20% of the 12-hour nurse’s work week.
Article 17 – Health, Dental, and Vision Benefit Plan Provisions
AHS has proposed language that is identical to the health benefits language contained in the SEIU General Unit contract. This language would permit AHS to charge employees a percentage of the overall monthly premiums that AHS pays for its health plans. As the cost of health care goes up every year, the ability to cost share helps the Hospital sustain its generous and comprehensive offerings.
To ensure adequate time and a meaningful opportunity to review the proposals and receive counterproposals from SEIU, AHS offered four bargaining dates in July. SEIU accepted one date on July 21.