At negotiations held on Tuesday and Wednesday with committee members from UMMMC bargaining units at both the Memorial and University Campuses, management presented a proposal to cut our defined pension benefit. While we are still evaluating the full impact of the proposal, below are some key aspects of the proposed changes.
- The current pension plan would remain intact as is through Dec. 31, 2016.
- Beginning in 2017, the formula for calculating the benefit will change, which will mean the value of the benefit will decrease, meaning nurses will receive a smaller monthly benefit upon their retirement. The example they provided showed that a nurse at age 45 working full time at 40 hours a week, now at step 17, upon retirement at age 65 will receive $300 less per month under their proposal.
- Whereas now your pension is calculated based on your total wages, including overtime, differentials, and holiday premiums; beginning in 2017, your pension will be based on your base pay plus differentials only.
- Also, whereas your pension is now based on the monthly average of your highest five years of service, after 2017, it will be based on 1.25% of each year’s pay divided by 12. The upshot of these changes is that your pension benefit is being cut and the hospital will be pocketing another $5 million in profit from UMass nurses’ retirement security.
This proposal to cut your retirement is one more in their package of contract takeaways. We have yet to receive all of their proposals but we can be sure none of their proposals are intended as improvements to your contractual rights and benefits. To date we have received the following proposals at both bargaining tables:
- Impose punitive language that would require nurses to make up weekends and holidays if the nurse calls out sick on a weekend or holiday, leaving the timing of the makeup to the manager’s discretion. So if you are sick on Memorial Day you could be forced to work Christmas.
- Force nurses who work twelve hour shifts to work every other weekend and holiday, while the industry standard remains every third weekend and holiday for nurses working twelve hour shifts.
- Dramatically limit our rights to arrange self coverage with a per diem nurse and eliminate our right to take any time off without pay.
- Expand the primetime to May 1st through October 1st– primetime would then be five months long- AND to make matters worse, also include the school vacation weeks as primetime weeks. So if you take a school vacation week you could not have a summer vacation.
They want all of this and more from you, while laying off staff, selling off our home care services, and forcing all of us to work under increasingly dangerous staffing/working conditions.