Negotiations began with an Opening Statement by President Paul Santos who made it very clear that the Union’s approach to contract negotiations will be different this time around and there will be no secret deals.
The Union presented the Bargaining Platform that was approved by the members on Saturday.
The Union and management agreed on ground rules for fair negotiations.
Epic, Job Security, Wages Training, & Promotions
The Union Bargaining Team then presented proposals to protect job security and wage rates while Epic is implemented and to make sure employees have full training opportunities for potential future promotions.
We also proposed that positions be filled during training so that other employees don’t have an extra workload. Management will respond to these proposals in the next negotiations.
Epic Certified Trainer Positions
The two sides discussed the Epic Certified Trainer positions. Management is adamant that they will fill these positions as temporary, non-union jobs. Pay would start at a minimum of $27.90/hr.
According to management, Teamsters who apply to be Epic Certified Trainers would lose all union protections from unfair discipline while they are in these positions. Applicants would only be able to return to their previous job during the first two weeks.
Employees would be granted the right to return to their previous job or an equivalent union position upon completion of the 4 to 6 month trainer assignment,
These are management’s positions and the Union does not agree with them. We have filed a grievance against Epic Certified Trainer jobs being nonunion.
But under the rules of the current contract, management cannot be stopped from filling the Trainer positions as temporary, non-union jobs until that grievance is heard by an arbitrator. This could take several months.
Negotiations will continue on October 29. Lou Sperling promised to give counterproposals on Epic at the next meeting. Both sides will also present proposals for contract language changes.
“It was a very productive meeting,” said Union Committee member Tony Suazo. “We got our message across to management and the message was heard.”
Bob Antaya, another committee member said, “Rank-and-file members were there to see the process for ourselves. It really shows how the Union works. Local 251 is making sure members’ issues are on the table and being heard.”
Six Teamster employees from the Hospital are on the Union Bargaining Committee. Four other Teamster employees observed the negotiations.
In all, Teamsters were present from Clerical, CNA, Materials Management, Radiology, Environmental Services, Facilities, Central Transport, Central Research, and Food and Nutrition.
Local 251 officers and staff at the bargaining table included Paul Santos, Principal Officer Matt Taibi, Business Agent Eddie Carreiro, Contract Coordinator David Robbins and Contract Negotiator Stefan Ostrach.