Kaleida Negotiations Update #5 – Retention, Shirts, Insurance cards, and In Memorium

T-Shirt Day Outcomes: A Red Sea of Success


January 12th, 2022 ignited one of the first steps toward our upcoming contract negotiations. Our membership spoke loud and clear. Members wore red signifying the opening of bargaining. This was a demonstration of the desire; to be able to practice safely, a demand for safe conditions, a fight to retain OUR staff, a fight for respect and a clear message to ensure that Kaleida administration understands that WE will not settle. WE deserve better. Across all sites, our members wore RED: Red “Standing up for Patient Care” shirts, red buffonts, red shoe covers, red scrunchies, and red shoelaces. Even after the administration tried to limit our ability to wear Union “Standing up for Patient Care” shirts in December, our members spoke loud and clear. The attempt to obscure our rights will not be tolerated! This showing of unity and solidarity was a huge success. 

Despite the CEO penning an email regarding staffing improvements that most regard as satire, any “improvement” is widely seen as one step forward and three steps back. Ironically, even some unit managers were seen wearing red. A clear testament that there are still some that are on the side of patient care and supporting our staff. 

Congratulations CWA 1168, this is our first step in our contract fight. We have a long way to go, so in solidarity for our next few months we invite our members to carry on CWA’s tradition of wearing red on Thursdays. If you haven’t received a t-shirt, please reach out to our office at 716-639-1168 to get your name on our next order list.

Retention Efforts


All of the Red made an impact with Kaleida administration. That day, January 12th, senior leadership from Kaleida approached the unions to discuss the “staffing crisis” that has crippled the entire system. The unions had only one thing to say in response: “ TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTHCARE HEROES!” 

Subsequently, leadership from CWA and SEIU presented a comprehensive proposal which aimed at the retention of current staff. The experienced and dedicated employees who have been working tirelessly in horrific conditions since the inception of this pandemic. While you can read the entire proposal on our website, here are the highlights:
A revision of the “Critical Staffing Incentive Program” making it automatic for any shift posted on a needs list, anywhere. This would trigger an automatic bonus payment of time and a half for any extra hours worked. 
If a unit/floor drops below the staffing grid, or if an area with fixed/regular staffing is short, all members currently scheduled to work receive bonus as outlined in the current staffing incentive bonus program in the contract. 
A retention bonus for current employees who are working in positions that are hard to recruit for or in job titles that are difficult to retain. This retention bonus would be 10% of your base pay, paid out over two years. This would mirror Kaleida’s recruitment bonus for; new nurses, CMAs, MAs, and PCAs.
While negotiations are on-going and Kaleida wishes to “review this internally”, we need to keep the pressure on. The pressure needs to come from ALL of us! It will take the entire membership to bargain the working conditions and the contract we deserve.

Additionally, Kaleida has informed the unions that our continued ask to implement disaster charting will finally be granted. Disaster Charting will result in a reduction of 50%-65% of the required assessment fields. Though this will not be a solution for the situation we find ourselves in, it will enable us to spend more time on actual patient care. In solidarity!


Insurance Cards


By now, most of you have received your updated HIGHMARK insurance card in the mail. Please be assured that there have been NO CHANGES to your coverage or premiums. There are some acronyms added to the new cards that may have you confused; OON (out-of-network) and OOP (out-of-pocket). Although not previously listed on the old BCBS cards, OOP and OON have always been a part of Article 29 Section 17 of the master agreement. You can reference page 117 of the master agreement for clarification. Out of network (OON) refers to healthcare services performed by providers who don’t participate with your health insurance plan. Out of pocket (OOP) cost simply put is the maximum amount a covered individual would have to pay for health services. For those who were forced to spend out of pocket for prescriptions, contact express scripts at 800-939-3751 option 2. Additional help at KaleidaBenefitsEnrollment@kaleidahealth.org


In Memoriam


It is with heavy hearts that we must say goodbye to our sister in labor, the late Stephanie Michelle Anderson. Stephanie entered into eternal rest on January 9, 2022. Stephanie was a dedicated leader in the labor community who selflessly represented members of 1199SEIU for over 20 years. We will miss Stephanie and mourn the loss of her for many years to come. May her eternal light continue to shine on all of us who were fortunate enough to know her.

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