Our bargaining team met with management last week to continue the process of bargaining our contract, and we are also looking forward to Friday, February 10th, when we return to negotiations.
Because management has been rigid and uncooperative in our bargaining sessions, we have had to go into a formal mediation process to make any progress. We took our first of three mediation sessions to again emphasize to the Hospital our position that we are not second-class employees, and we expect our standards and benefits to be on par with other professional employees within the Hospital. Right now, management thinks that we should not be afforded the type of benefits that other employees in the hospitals have, such as the nurses.
Management was unable to explain why our shift differential should be $4.25 per hour while nurses, whom we work side-by-side with, are compensated at $6.25 per hour. The same could be said for the additional Christmas Eve holiday in the nurses’ contract, enhanced stand by pay, preceptor pay, and more.
This week, we will be presenting a wage proposal and hope that the Hospital reviews it and considers the fact that there has been an exodus of employees from Mid-Columbia who then went to other hospitals. The only way to fix this problem of turnover is to ensure that our employees are well treated and that we are provided the resources to offer great patient care. Just a few months ago our nurse colleagues negotiated an increase of 10% over three years, yet the Hospital is offering a much lower increase, 4.5% spread across four years. They have Management seems to have no answer for how they are going to ensure the retention and recruitment of high quality staff, and if they continue to push low wages we can expect conditions to only worsen.
We have heard from many community members who support our efforts, and we will continue the hard work of fighting for a fair first union contract. We know the community stands with us and we are considering further actions with them as our partners if the Hospital continues to ignore these key issues. When healthcare workers win fair working conditions the entire community benefits.
We will continue to keep you posted and thank you for your support and feedback. We are fighting hard at the bargaining table for our patients and our profession. If you agree that we and our community deserve better, please get involved by contacting Dorothy Vibbert at (503) 847-7148. It’s never too late to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to fight for what’s right.
-MCMC Bargaining Team