May 12, 2015
Local 5131 has just won a major arbitration victory. Yesterday, Arbitrator Lawrence Coburn ruled that Inspira violated the contract when it failed to increase the PTO accrual rates for Local 5131 members as Inspira had done for non-union employees. Section 40.3 of the contract requires that “Any increase in PTO and/or LTS accrual rates of non-bargaining unit, non-managerial employees will be applied to bargaining unit employees.”
In early 2014, the employer raised the PTO accrual rates for non-union employees while taking away their long term sick (LTS) benefits. Local 5131 rejected Inspira’s proposal that we agree to the same deal; instead, we insisted, based on the contract language, that the increase in PTO accrual rates be applied to Local 5131 members as well.
The arbitrator is requiring Inspira to “…increase, retroactive to April 10, 2014, PTO accrual rates for bargaining unit employees to the PTO accrual rates applicable to non-bargaining unit employees. This means that Local 5131 members will be receiving, according to Inspira’s estimate, $2 million in additional PTO benefit accruals!
Local 5131 President Michelle Silvio noted the importance of the the arbitrator’s decision for the local: “This is a major victory for our members. At a time when our hospital system is looking at every way to cut costs, employees often pay the biggest price for those cuts. The only way to protect our rights and benefits is to have a union contract. This win shows the power we have when we stand together.”