Bargaining Update - CNA Negotiations


07.14.2017

Palomar Health met with the California Nurses Association (CNA) on July 13 for continued contract negotiations.  The parties discussed the following topics:
  • Article 1 – Recognition
  • Article 13 – Compensation
  • Article 16 – Pension
  • Article 35 – Safe Patient Handling / Lift Program
  • Article 38 – Health and Safety
  • Article “X” [new proposed article] – Community Health Needs
Palomar Health provided a detailed explanation and analysis of liabilities associated with the Steelworkers Pension Trust.  In addition to substantial employer risks, we have concerns for our employees. Among other things, the Steelworkers Pension Trust does not allow employees to choose their own investments. In addition, an employee would have to participate for 5 years, or lose (forfeit) whatever benefit he or she might have accumulated up to that time. 

On the other hand, employees are always 100% vested in their contributions to the Fidelity §401(a) plan and begin vesting in the employer contributions after participating for just 2 years.  For all these reasons, we declined to switch to the Steelworkers Pension Trust.  Palomar Health has committed to continue its financially generous and market/industry competitive 6% contributions to the Fidelity §401(a) Money Purchase Pension Plan.  This represents a significant, ongoing investment in our employees’ retirement future.

As noted in our last update, the average step percent increase for a Clin RN I/II is currently 2.07%.  The average step percent increase for a Clin RN III is 2.08%.  Although the parties’ contract recently expired, Palomar Health has offered to continue these step increases. In addition to the step increases, Palomar Health proposed the following Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increases:
 
  1. On the first day of the pay period beginning after January 1, 2018, all Registered Nurses would receive a 1.50% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase.  
 
  1. On the first day of the pay period beginning after January 1 of any subsequent years the contract is in effect, all Registered Nurses would receive a 0.75% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase.   
In addition to the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increases, Palomar Health has proposed additional monetary increases, including the following:     
  • Float Pool Registered Nurse differential increasing from $5 per hour to $7.30 per hour
  • Offering a Weekend Shift differential for the first time (an additional $1.00 per hour) 
  • Increasing tuition reimbursement amounts by 25% compared to the contract that recently expired: 
  • RNs regularly scheduled to work between 60 and 80 hours per two-week pay period would be eligible to receive up to a maximum of $2,500 per fiscal year (previously $2,000).
  • RNs regularly scheduled to work between 48 and 59 hours per two-week pay period would be eligible to receive up to a maximum of $1,500 per fiscal year (previously $1,200). 
  • RNs regularly scheduled to work between 32 and 47 hours per two-week pay period would be eligible to receive up to a maximum of $1,000 per fiscal year (previously $1,000).
  • A Critical Staffing Incentive program with bonuses of $135.00 per eligible shift.These are just a few highlights from Palomar Health’s competitive package of proposals.  
As we previously reported, the parties have also reached a tentative agreement for a new article devoted to “Resources, Tools, & Equipment.”

In response to feedback from CNA's bargaining team, we have made certain adjustments to our proposals. For instance, we presented a revised Insurance Benefits proposal that keeps the same inpatient co-pays for hospitalizations and mental health.  Employees who receive services for outpatient surgeries, hospitalizations, outpatient laboratory, outpatient imaging, and Expresscare at Palomar Health facilities would continue to have their co-pays paid by Palomar Health.

CNA has agreed to meet with us next on Thursday, July 27.  We asked to meet sooner than two weeks from now, but they would not offer any earlier dates. 

Palomar Health is dedicated to reaching a fair and equitable contract that rewards our hard-working Registered Nurses.  We remain committed to bargaining in good faith throughout the negotiation process.


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