Health

Healthcare unions to promote better wages, other requirements by 2023


While many health systems are entering 2023 with significant financial losses, leaving the industry facing a potentially tight budget year, unions representing workers remain lost. their bargaining prospects.

Like in 2022, the main problems for unions representing clinicians will be burnout due to a shortage of nurses, said Dan Braun, director of research and strategic planning at SEIU Local 121RN. the need for flexibility as well as the mental health of people with emotional trauma. , based in Southern California.

“Some of the provisions we are proposing include things like understanding the situation if there is a public health emergency or staffing challenges due to the pandemic, and how they evaluate nurses as well. like supporting people’s ability to take time off and protecting sick days,” Braun said.

Last year saw a number of major contracts won for healthcare workers. Hundreds of deals close and workers proceed dozens of strikes nationwide unsuitable personnel and other labor practices they consider unfair.

In November, Kaiser Permanente agreed to create more than 2,000 nurse positionsrecommends that clinicians increase wages by 22.5% over four years and maintain a stockpile of three months’ worth of PPE while continuously screening for infectious diseases.

Months earlier, nurses from the University of Michigan School of Medicine had won the award end of mandatory overtimean improved mechanism to enforce contractual workload ratios and competitive wages to recruit and retain skilled employees.

“I am confident that next year we will achieve similar victories,” said Sal Rosselli, president of the National Federation of Health Workers. “And not because these hospital systems want it, but because their staff will force them to do it, under the threat of a hook-and-loop.”

About 30,000 nurses represented by the New York State Nurses Association are working on contracts that will expire on December 31 or early 2023, meaning private and public sector nurses in more than two dozen The facility will negotiate a contract for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a union spokesman. Issues to be raised during negotiations will include wages, protecting the quality of health care and retirement benefits for workers, and meeting the health needs of the community.

A spokesperson said the union is also advocating for patients to pass New York’s new hospital staffing commission law, which will allow the public to better understand employment levels and empower the Department of Health to force Health systems are held accountable for failure to meet safety personnel standards.

Many labor groups that have negotiated contracts recently are deciding their next priorities.

Even after winning a favorable three-year contract in July, union members at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, California are looking forward to talks, said Lydia Gmerek, the hospital’s national nurse. judge in the future and work to organize more clinicians and maintain agreed standards. United’s Chief Nurse Representative.

“There’s really no honeymoon,” Gmerek said. “We are always taking action, talking to new nurses, letting them know what our union can do. We will continuously monitor what is happening in our community to make sure we have enough staff.”

The contract for the 570 nurses at Good Samaritan includes a three-year pay increase from 17.4% to 29.4%, infectious disease testing for nurses and a provision that ensures new nurses will graduate. do not work in “floating” places for the first six months of employment.

Although the root causes are variable, financial stressors are nothing new for health systems and should not influence union negotiations, said SEIU’s Braun. more than before the pandemic. With cost pressures propelled by commuting nurses and other temporary staff, union members are working with hospital leadership to determine how to retain staff and focus on quality and safety, he said. full care instead of short-term labor costs.

Union members at Placentia-Linda Hospital in Placentia, California, negotiated for more than 10 months for their first contract, one that addressed burnout and staff shortages.

“We are trying to keep the community informed about what is going on at their local hospital, because we want them to know what kind of care they can expect to receive when they seek help. help or their family members are seeking help. ,” said Robert Allison, an X-ray technician at the hospital and a member of the union’s bargaining team.

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