After last Saturday’s mass shooting on Jefferson Avenue, many members find themselves feeling a wide range of emotions. We are all trying to find ways to cope. 1199SEIU and CWA met Tuesday morning with hospital administration and Kaleida’s Chief Diversity Officer Shannon Bryant for a discussion about the tragedy and about race in our community and our workplace.
Ms. Bryant’s presentation covered how staff can best approach conversations with sensitivity and compassion by: Acknowledging what happened, creating a safe space for discussion, protecting staff’s energy and labor, debriefing and discussing the event, and being aware of how our words may be understood.
CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE TRAGEDY: The two unions continued the conversation among ourselves on Thursday, discussing how we may be hesitant to approach one another; the upbringings we may be working to unlearn; how little exposure many staff may have had to people of other races before coming to Kaleida; the fear that many members feel when they see their children off for the day, and the sadness and anger and exhaustion they feel about having “The Talk” with their kids. CWA and 1199SEIU urge Kaleida to continue the conversation and to keep the discussion going among staff and administration so that we keep this momentum.
FAMILY PHARMACY PRESENTATION: CWA and 1199SEIU members, along with CWA’s mobilizing team came Wednesday to urge Kaleida’s team to reinstate Family Pharmaceutical Services. Members from both unions told Kaleida of the inconvenience and hardship that higher co-pays bring since our pharmacy benefit was transferred to Express Scripts. Deb Timmins, an RN from MFSH, said, “My doctor ordered a 15-day supply [of a new medication]. Express Scripts took three to four days to fill it, and they sent me an incorrect order” of a three-month supply of the prescription. Cheryl Marino read a statement from Janice Bennett. “Express Scripts told me I could get my prescription from Walgreen’s. My co-pay went from $40 to $400 after about 4 months of picking it up at the pharmacy. When I called them, Express Scripts said: “Sorry, this is how it works.” Kaleida asked no questions after our presentation. Kaleida President and Chief Operating Officer Don Boyd said, “It seems like there’s still a difference of opinion.”
Both unions have started discussing staffing ratios as part of bargaining. Some of this work was already a part of the Clinical Staffing Committee (CSC) meetings happening weekly at BGMC, MFSH, and OCH, but those discussions focus on nursing staff. We plan to use that information to drive our demands in bargaining ratios and safe staffing throughout Kaleida sties in all titles.
SOME PROGRESS: Despite all the meetings this week, the unions and Kaleida have made progress on a few contract articles. We have reached a Tentative Agreement on the Multi-Site Float Pool (Article 52). We continue to discuss Hours of Work and Work Schedules (Article 15), more specifically the steps to follow before OneCall is made to recruit staff for short shifts.
We have discussed the experience levels at which Kaleida will consider applicants for per diem workers (Article 12). The unions believe that per diem staff may be exempted from taking on-call.
Kaleida and the unions are still far apart on Time and Attendance (Article 63) regarding the number of call-ins (PTU) that members are to receive in order to bring the hospital in line with the 56 hours of sick time allowed under New York State Paid Sick Leave. The unions have demanded that 8-hour members receive eight call-ins in order to receive the full 56 hours the law allows. Extended shift staff will retain their six call-ins under our proposal. We are also asking to bring the time frames for PTU and tardy disciplines in line with our language.
Open bargaining continues – sign up for a session through your respective union!