On Friday, March 7th, your labor management team met with UH Labor Relations. Many issues were discussed, but the following issues were addressed: Inclement Weather, Health and Safety, ID Badges, and PERS/ABP.
Inclement Weather: Since the reorganization, University Hospital has not called one Inclement Weather day – yet they have deemed everyone essential. Obviously they cannot have it both ways, and they know this. This issue will need to be addressed in negotiations. In the meantime, we are working with them to review any individual issues that may have occurred (e.g., getting salary deleted for not coming in during a storm).
Health and Safety: We addressed with management what we believe to be a serious health and safety issue. Namely, unbagged TB filters are being transported through the hospital (including on patient elevators) to Clinical Engineering. Once they get there, they are being worked on out in the open, without precautions. These filters should only be worked on in a dedicated area so that no staff are put at risk of infection. In addition, those performing the repairs should be wearing hazmat suits – which they currently are not given. Obviously this is of great concern to us and our member. We hope that management will address this issue immediately, and we will certainly follow up.
ID Badges – Most of us now have to carry two ID Badges (one to access UH areas, the other to access Rutgers areas). We inquired if they were working on fixing this. We were told that the ball is really in Rutgers court – as they maintain control of almost all the locks. We will follow up with Rutgers to see if we can get our UH members access to Rutgers controlled areas (such as the passage between NJMS and UH).
PERS/ABP – Since UH is now a standalone State hospital, its employees (by statute) must be in the PERS system. While this is, in general, a good thing (a defined benefit pension is far superior to a 401k type set up) we do have some members who came aboard during the transition that were told that they would be in the APB, and based their decision to take a job at UH in part on this information. We inquired if UH is pursuing a legislative fix on this matter.