On Wednesday, August 19th, we had our latest negotiation session with UH management. Our team came ready and willing to discuss wages and other economic issues – unfortunately, management is still not willing to join in that discussion.
In addition, we are still being confronted with a handful of proposals that we consider problematic. First off, management wants to reduce your medical leave time down from six (6) months to the federally mandated twelve (12) weeks. Management’s attorney made it clear that in order to offer any reasonable wage increases, they would need to cut down on FMLA absences. If this is truly the case, then we can have the discussion on FMLA benefits when they begin to get serious about wages.
Management is also sticking to their proposal regarding criminal background checks. We have made it very clear to them that this is a massive invasion of our members’ privacy and is a non-starter. It remains to be seen how serious they are about this, but we are very serious in our stance on the issue.
We also had further discussion on their desire for drug testing (under the guidelines of reasonable suspicion). While we understand that they may have concerns about patient safety and employee impairment, we are quite hesitant to open this can of worms. It seems not to be a problem at the moment, so we are unsure as to the urgency of this proposal.
There was also a lot of productive discussion about our discipline and grievance articles. The goal, we believe by both sides, is to reduce the amount of time it takes to process grievances and to empower managers and union reps to resolve issues without calling for a full hearing. We hope to have an agreement on new discipline/grievance procedure language at the next session.
We are waiting for another date for them to continue talking about these issues and, hopefully, to begin our discussion on wages. Stay tuned!