Palomar Health met with the California Nurses Association (CNA) on March 16 and the Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union (CHEU) on March 17 to begin contract negotiations. The parties made introductory remarks and exchanged several initial proposals.
Palomar Health expressed its commitment to negotiate in a respectful and professional manner toward the goal of reaching fair agreements. We discussed the need for realistic economic terms and improved operational flexibility in the new contracts.
What are ground rules and why are they important?
It is common for the parties in collective bargaining to agree on basic ground rules for conducting negotiations (e.g., time and place of meetings, order of issues to be discussed, etc.) Just as blue prints provide critical structure for a house, ground rules provide an important foundation for negotiations. Palomar Health proposed a set of ground rules, including a rule that each party agrees to bargain in good faith, as required by state law. We explained the need for everyone to understand and commit to conducting negotiations with integrity. CHEU took the proposal under consideration. CNA rejected Palomar Health’s ground rules proposal and stated they will not agree to ground rules. Refusing to bargain on ground rules may constitute a violation of the duty to negotiate in good faith. We hope that CNA and CHEU agree to negotiate ground rules at our next meeting.
What other proposals did Palomar Health and the unions discuss?
Palomar Health presented a proposal to update the contract with the current names of its facilities. CNA and CHEU responded that they will take a look at it and get back to us.
We introduced a proposal that would allow Palomar Health to increase salary rates and/or ranges in the bargaining unit as it deems appropriate to maintain market competitiveness. CNA and CHEU took the proposal under consideration.
CNA and CHEU proposed additional language for the preamble and a new article regarding community health needs. The unions requested changes to the articles regarding successors, health and safety, and association bulletin boards. Palomar Health asked questions and took the proposals under advisement.
What happens next?
Palomar Health is scheduled to meet again with CNA on March 23 and CHEU on March 24. We will keep you updated regarding the status of negotiations on a regular basis.