Providence Registered Nurses Bargaining Update #2

Bargaining Covers Array of Issues; Management Disappoints on Wages, Staffing

Our bargaining team met with PAMC management this week for our third and fourth negotiation sessions.
The initial phase of bargaining is broad in nature, covering an expanse of issues with varying levels of importance. Wide-ranging discussions continued this week, with both teams exchanging numerous proposals. We also received a long-awaited response to our team’s information request and heard management’s initial counterproposal on wage increases.
Some Agreements Reached

We reached tentative agreements on two contract articles: Article 18, concerning Home Health & Hospice (clean-up language), and Article 2, which covers AaNA membership and representation. There, we agreed to minor tweaks regarding our union leadership leave bank and won changes to help ensure all newly hired nurses get connected with our union in a timely manner.
Both teams worked collaboratively to update care sets, and we are moving closer on each side’s proposed increases to shift differentials, call pay, and charge pay.
We also had discussions on several more minor, but important issues, including precepting, nurse residency, jury duty, and non-prime time PTO scheduling.
Management’s Proposals to Watch

At this point, management has made several proposals that our team considers concerning or odd. While our team continues discussing these proposals and learning about management’s rationale, here’s what you should know.

Increasing registry availability requirements. Management wants registry nurses hired before 5/1/12 to provide availability for at least 4 shifts per schedule to be in alignment with nurses hired after 5/1/12.

Changing the overstaff order. PAMC has proposed a major change to the current overstaff order: Instead of seeking volunteers first (current practice), management wants to send home nurses receiving overtime or callback pay first. Our team believes this would discourage nurses from picking up extra shifts and has the potential to exacerbate the staffing crisis at PAMC.  

Harsher discipline for absences and tardies. A truly puzzling proposal from management would significantly alter the way absenteeism and tardiness are handled. Our current contract counts tardy and absence occurrences separately for the purposes of discipline. Management wants to combine them, with no distinguishment between tardies and absences. This would effectively result in quicker, harsher disciplinary action against nurses.
Disappointing Responses on Priority Issues

Wage increases. Of great interest to our bargaining unit members, we received counterproposals to our requested pay increases (9.5/9.5/9.5 for a total of 28.5% over the next three years). PAMC’s initial counter offered increases of 3/2/1.5, totaling 6.5%. This was a disappointing offer that undervalues the work of AaNA nurses, who deserve market-competitive compensation reflective of our dedication and experience.

Safe staffing. Management again flat-out rejected our team’s proposals on break nurses and staffing ratios, a top priority for AaNA nurses.

PTO accrual and cashout. Management rejected our proposal to reinstate PTO cashout, citing a theoretical concern that the IRS could then treat all of a nurse’s banked PTO as taxable income (even if it hasn’t been used). Our union legal counsel will research this topic for our team prior to our next session. Meanwhile, we reiterated our position to management: Having a PTO accrual cap without a cashout is unfair to AaNA nurses, who collectively missed out on over 1,700 PTO hours from mid-2021 through 2022, and many of whom were repeatedly denied time off when requested. Management also said no to our team’s proposal to add another tier to the PTO accrual rates.
United for a Fair Contract

We are grateful to have such a hard-working bargaining team, but our true leverage is built among rank-and-file AaNA nurses acting together. Kudos to the nurses who have already participated by signing our banner, wearing stickers on bargaining days, or talking with coworkers about our contract.

One thing is clear — If we’re going to get our priorities addressed in bargaining, it will be because nurses demonstrate broad support for our proposals and show PAMC that we’re willing to do what’s necessary to win a fair contract.

Our next negotiation sessions are set for February 5 & 6. In the meantime, drop by our bargaining update meeting on Monday, and stay tuned for more ways to get involved in our contract fight.

In solidarity,Your PRN-AaNA Bargaining Team