HPAE had a negotiations session with management Thursday, April 23rd. We were able to reach several agreements updating the contract language to reflect University Hospital as a separate entity which is due to the restructuring of UMDNJ as of 6/30/13.
Despite the nominal progress made in the session, UH presented additional proposals to our committee that are clearly intended to eliminate the basic rights and protections that we have won over the years. Their proposals were as follows:
- Random drug and alcohol testing
- Random criminal background checks for existing members which could result in discipline
- Reduced protections in the discipline language
- Weaken the grievance and arbitration language
- Stricter FMLA rules
We should also remember the other concessions that have been proposed in previous sessions, as follows:
- Layoffs protections would be reduced to include a member’s performance evaluation as a determining factor which would render one’s seniority irrelevant.
- Members would be forced to make up any weekend shifts if the absence is less than 5 consecutive shifts.
- Members would only be paid overtime for their actual hours worked, which would not include any vacation, holiday, or sick time.
- Eligibility for tuition reimbursement would be dependent on a member’s performance evaluation.
- Eliminate all benefit time, (vacation, holiday, and sick days), to replace with Paid Time Off (PTO).
- Preceptor pay would be changed from 6% of base pay to $1 per hour.
- Float pool differential would be reduced from $5.50 per hour to $2.75 per hour as well as reduce the differential paid when forced to float outside of designated district from $7 per hour to $4.25 per hour.
- Eliminate staffing levels as well as the Staffing Advisory Committee which would jeopardize our ability to provide safe patient care.
Based on these proposals, it seems clear that University Hospital is not interested in working with us to reach a fair contract. We are extremely disappointed that management has chosen to fight against us, rather than work with us to improve job security and working conditions.
The next negotiating session is scheduled for Tuesday, May 26. If you would like more information about negotiations or how you can help send a strong message of solidarity to management, please contact your local union representative or Dawn Baker, HPAE Staff Rep at (201)262-5005 for more information.