Providence Registered Nurses Bargaining Update #3

Bargaining Continues with a Close Look at our Wage Scale

Our Providence Registered Nurses (PRN) bargaining team met with PAMC management this week for our fifth and sixth negotiation sessions.

We had a big couple days at the bargaining table ironing out language and spending hours discussing pay and benefits. One issue we’ve zeroed in on is the diminishing raises between steps as our members gain experience and move up the wage scale.

In the first 5 years of their careers, AaNA nurses gain between 2.99% and 3.77% with each step increase. By comparison, for the top third of the scale, there is—at most—a 1% increase between steps. Our team analyzed RN wages at other facilities in Providence’s North Division. We found that the more experienced an AaNA nurse is, the more their pay lags behind their North Division peers.
Our team made a proposal to adjust the wage scale, starting at step 11, so that each successive step provides a 1.5% raise. We also proposed across-the-board increases over the three-year contract of 6.5% / 7% / 7%.

Management’s proposed scale adjustment is tiered differently, transitioning to a 1.0% increase between steps 16 through 25 and 0.75% for steps 26 and up. PAMC’s proposed across-the-board raises over the life of the contract are 3% / 2% / 1.75%, which is an increase of 0.25% in the third year over their last proposal.

We are also exploring options for our registry wage scale, as it demonstrates a similar issue. Our team doesn’t think that the wage scale as it stands reflects our common goals of retention or respect. Both teams have committed to ongoing discussion regarding adjusting wage scales as part of the negotiated economic package.
Additional Discussion Topics

Though a large portion of bargaining this week was devoted to discussing compensation, both teams exchanged a number of additional proposals.

Night shift jury duty. Management has agreed to our jury duty proposal allowing night shift nurses to elect to take PTO or a Day Without Pay (DWP) in addition to the regularly compensated shift. This way, a night shift nurse can take both the shift before and after their jury service off if desired. This will not be considered an unscheduled absence.

Simplifying registry requirements. We also worked to clarify language regarding registry requirements. Our contract currently (and confusingly) includes two requirements for registry nurses. One requirement states the minimum number of shifts they must work; and the second states the minimum number of shifts for which they must provide availability for scheduling. Since the work requirements are already clear, both teams felt the availability requirement added unnecessary complexity and agreed to strike the language.

Education benefit expansion. PAMC has offered expansion of the facility’s education benefit for full-time employees to all part time and registry nurses. It includes up to $5,250 per year for tuition, fees, professional certifications, and educational events through Guild.

Absence and tardy occurrences. Management finally relented on their puzzling plan to combine absenteeism and tardy occurrences into one disciplinary category, maintaining our current contract language which treats them separately.

Overstaff order. Management remains persistent in their desire to change the overstaff order. Previously, they proposed first sending home nurses receiving overtime or callback pay. They have dropped overtime from their proposal, and now want nurses receiving callback pay to be sent home first. This would be a major departure from our current overstaff order that seeks volunteers first.

PTO cashout and non-prime time scheduling. PAMC has not budged on their refusal to allow PTO cashout for nurses that have reached their maximum accrued hours. We also discussed how to improve our contract language regarding non-prime time PTO scheduling.

Short-term disability and parental leave. Management agreed to expand short-term disability and parental leave to 100% of the nurse’s base rate of pay. This will take place 60 days after our new contract is ratified.

Clarifying weekend scheduling. The teams agreed on clarified language related to weekend scheduling. Current language states that nurses get at least every other weekend off, or 2 out of 4 weekends. Since most units now use 8-week schedules, we updated this to a maximum of 8 weekend shifts in an 8-week schedule with every other weekend off.

Safe staffing and break nurses. Providence is still refusing our proposed inclusion of break nurses and safe staffing ratios.
Members See Bargaining in Action

For these bargaining sessions, a number of AaNA members joined us as observers. It was great to have more of our membership represented and to increase transparency in the bargaining process.
If you’d like to attend future bargaining sessions as an observer, please reach out to Terra Colegrove. We ask that members notify us ahead of time so we can assure the room has the appropriate capacity. Observers should be prepared to attend negotiations for the entire day and to be respectful of the process and those in the room.
Our next bargaining dates are March 5 & 6. In the meantime, come to our bargaining breakdown meeting on Tuesday (2/13, 1600-1800) and/or our monthly bargaining unit meeting on Thursday (2/15 at 1600). Stay tuned for more ways to do your part in securing a fair contract that recruits, retains, and respects nurses!
In solidarity,
Your PRN-AaNA Bargaining Team