Update for Steward MNA Members
Steward System-Wide Update:
Four hospitals, Holy Family, Merrimack Valley, Morton and Quincy remain in active negotiations. There has been a recent breakthrough, with top management at Steward having joined the negotiations in the past three weeks. At the beginning of their re-start of negotiations, their spokesperson announced a desire for a new relationship with the MNA; and for a positive relationship with RNs and healthcare professionals.
We cannot predict the future and whether or not this new path will lead to settlement in the coming weeks. However, we are encouraged that it has resulted in a serious dialogue over the past three weeks.
Safe Staffing Ratios:
We are actively negotiating staffing ratios, and management has expressed willingness to come to an agreement. This is a breakthrough. However, the talks are now focusing on the incredibly important details of what the ratio commitments will be in the contracts.
In parallel negotiations, talks to finalize implementation of the pension are moving productively. Monday, May 18 we had another bargaining/mediation session with Steward, which continued to move the ball forward. The next scheduled pension meeting is June 26, with the mutual goal of finalizing the remaining issues. In the interim, pension lawyers for both sides are continuing to work out legal issues directly with each other and, separately, both parties’ actuaries are continuing to work to refine actuarial predictions – all subject to final approval between the employer and the union.
Some caveats: These issues are not settled with signatures. Negotiations continue. Further, the pension is very complicated, and this is a short summary only.
The pension discussions are important to the four former Caritas hospitals that are party to the Limited Master Agreement (LMA) (Carney, Good Sam, Norwood and St. E’s). They are also important for the four hospitals now in bargaining (Holy Family, Merrimack, Morton and Quincy), where we have made detailed proposals in bargaining for the pension to be implemented at those hospitals as well. (Your bargaining committee members can provide you with copies of those proposals).
May 29 Demonstration in NYC:
On the evening of May 22, representatives of our eight Steward Hospital Committees discussed the progress in pension discussions and contract bargaining, and decided to postpone the planned demonstration in light of these recent positive events.
We will be scheduling committee meetings and then bargaining sessions for the wage reopener at SEMC, Good Sam, Carney and Norwood. The new reality of management’s negotiating team presents a positive opportunity for the reopener talks to be addressed seriously.
Health insurance terms, conditions and rates remain locked in at 2012 until we complete bargaining. We have been awaiting a management response to our proposals since January. We expect that this will happen soon now that bargaining has started to move more quickly.