Standing Up For Dignity & Respect On The Job! March 18. 2022
This week was our first time sitting down with Kaleida. After we spent weeks discussing contract articles, how Kaleida circumvents them, and what changes we believe will be most helpful, CWA and 1199SEIU presented 247 pages of proposals beginning on Wednesday, March 16.
Day one felt positive. Kaleida CEO Robert Nesselbush gave a presentation about the system’s financial position. Kaleida’s President and COO Don Boyd said he will be at the bargaining table throughout along with representatives from Human Resources and their legal team.
In his speech, Mr. Nesselbush said Kaleida knows that the number one issue is staffing. He promised a “fair wage increase” and no benefit reductions for current staff.
We began Wednesday with opening statements from CWA Local 1168 President Cori Gambini, 1199SEIU Vice-President Jim Scordato, along with members. Our members spoke with deep emotion about the lack of support they felt when Kaleida halted Covid pay earlier than expected (if they received it at all), how staff are rushing out the door to take higher-paying travel assignments, stress of working critically short staffed, and the lack of respect for the work we do.
Kaleida received our package of proposals and asked questions. The unions listed any proposed changes for each article, letter of intent, and memorandum of understanding, finishing the pile on Thursday morning. We explained what situations had prompted each change and how we expect it to address the problem our members identified.
As of Thursday 3/17, the unions have presented a list of non-economic articles for which we do not propose any changes. Thus far, Kaleida is proposing a conversational approach regarding staffing, recruitment, and retention but has not offered any proposals of their own.
The first items Kaleida has agreed to are deletions of references to the International Union of Operating Engineers, who alerted CWA and 1199SEIU that they will withdraw from the master bargaining agreement and will write their own contract.
For next week, CWA and 1199SEIU are ready and waiting for Kaleida to come back to the table and discuss what needs to change so that we can do our jobs to the best of our ability, with the staffing and supplies we need to help our patients heal and go home.
We have welcomed a group of members from each union to open bargaining each day, with a particularly strong showing for sticker day on Wednesday. Keep signing up and coming to bargaining sessions! Check with your union for ways to sign up.