Hours before a planned one-day strike at UIH, the INA Bargaining Committee at UIH reached a tentative agreement that was subsequently ratified by a 98.4% majority vote. The agreement ratified at UIH is a success and represents significant improvements over prior agreements.
The negotiations were contentious, and Management had their own ambitious objectives. In economic matters, INA achieved a return to yearly step increases with yearly cost-of-living adjustments, which was the overriding economic objective of the INA bargaining committee. UIH is now the only Chicago-based hospital with a step scale where all steps are annual from beginning to end. INA also achieved an objective it had been attempting for several contract terms, of attaining pay rate differentiation for certain salaried classifications based on education levels. For the first time, RNs working in certain salaried classifications will be recognized in their pay rates for advanced degrees. This is a breakthrough. Other economic achievements include a two-hour minimum for nurses who are held beyond their normal shift because they are scheduled for on-call hours immediately following that. This will disincentive management from using on-call as a way to get around properly staffing the later shifts and using on-call to avoid the prohibition of mandatory overtime. The recertification bonus was also increased by 250%.
INA also achieved objectives on noneconomic items. INA achieved some modest improvements in the staffing language. It had become routine to assign RNs at 124% of calculated capacity, but the Contract will now say that all assignments should be as close to 100% as possible. While it will take definite work to enforce this language change, the foundation is there to improve staffing through rigorous contract enforcement. INA was also able to add transparency to the internal posting of positions within treatment units for those RNs wanting to change shifts. The process will now be fair, transparent, and much easier for the INA to enforce.
Matthew Bartmes. Staff Specialist - Attorney