KALEIDA PRIORITIZING THE SIZE OF UNION PINS DURING THE COVID SURGE WHILE WE STRUGGLE TO PROVIDE CARE
Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021
On November 23, 2021, Kaleida administration and the unions met for their biweekly oversight meeting. The first item placed on the agenda related to changes to HR. 21 – Standards of Appearance. Of note, management inserted a new section into this policy regarding the wearing of union pins:
“Pins identifying a particular labor organization or an employee’s support for that organization may be worn No more than one (1) pin or button, not to exceed one and one half(1.5) inches in diameter may be worn.”
The policy also explicitly bans the wearing of t-shirts “as outerwear” and states that “Kaleida applies a zero-tolerance policy for dress code violations in patient care areas.” When union representatives questioned how management would enforce these policies, Kaleida administration could not provide a clear answer.
The unions feel the above changes are in response to the demonstrations of solidarity with the striking nurses at Catholic Health, when several hundred Kaleida healthcare workers wore red union t-shirts to work—an action that is protected under the National Labor Relations Act.
More importantly, why is management choosing now to focus on this issue as we are about to enter another COVID surge in Erie County? We are still understaffed and still working with supply shortages. Instead of approaching the unions to work together on helping alleviate the worsening crisis, management has chosen to create more policies to punish a workforce that is stretched to the breaking point.
The unions will fight any attempt to discipline employees for utilizing their protected labor rights to wear union apparel.