Bargaining Update CNA and CHEU Negotiations


08.12.2017

Palomar Health met with the California Nurses Association (CNA) on August 10 and the Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union (CHEU) on August 11 for continued contract negotiations. Palomar Health presented the following Compensation proposal:

1.The first day of the pay period after this contract is ratified – a pay increase of 1.0%.
 

2.The first day of the pay period after this contract is ratified – each employee shall receive his/her pay step increase.  (The average step percent increase exceeds 2%).
 
3.The first day of the pay period in January 2018 – an additional pay increase of 1.25%.
 
4.The first day of the pay period in July 2018, and in July of any subsequent years this contract is in effect – an additional pay increase of 1.0%.
 
5.The first day of the pay period in July 2018, and in July of any subsequent years this contract is in effect – each employee shall receive his/her pay step increase
 
6.The first day of the pay period in January 2019, and any subsequent years this contract is in effect – an additional pay increase of 1.0%.
 
Thus, employees’ average pay would increase by more than 3.0% as soon as this contract is ratified.  In January 2018, which is only a few months away, average pay will have increased by more than 4.25%.  Thereafter, Registered Nurses and Caregivers would receive their pay step increase (which exceeds 2% on average), a 1.0% pay increase in July, plus a 1.0% pay increase each January.  Employees who are already at the top of the pay scale would continue to receive a lump sum payment.

During the last contract, the parties agreed to 5.5% pay increases over 4 years, which equals an average of 1.375% per year.  Our proposal of 2.25% by January 2018 and 2.0% per year thereafter is a significant improvement, and represents a substantial, multi-million dollar commitment for our Registered Nurses and Caregivers. 

The unions’ chief negotiator stated that we would see significant movement from CNA and CHEU after we increased our Compensation proposal.  Regrettably, we have not seen any meaningful compromise from the unions on any of their demands. CNA and CHEU quickly countered with 6% plus the pay step increases (i.e., more than an 8% increase) by January 1, and 6.5% plus the pay step increases thereafter. The unions continue to demand Cesar Chavez Day and other minor holidays, double pay in numerous areas of the contract, and other unrealistic requests.
 
We have been continuously making modifications to our proposals, based on feedback from the unions’ bargaining teams.  However, the parties remain far apart in their positions. The unions’ proposals continue to exceed what is financially supportable by many multiples.

As you may be aware, CNA and CHEU have been circulating petitions attacking our leaders and referring to a potential strike.  Most recently, the unions made statements to the media claiming that our patients are at risk.  Unfortunately, these are common negotiation tactics during the bargaining process.  Safe, high quality care has been, and will continue to be our top priority.

Palomar Health is dedicated to reaching fair and equitable contracts that protect the interests of the health system and our patients while rewarding our Registered Nurses and Caregivers.  Palomar Health continues to negotiate in good faith with both unions.  We believe a fair deal can be reached in a timely manner.  Palomar Health meets again with CNA on August 24 and with CHEU on August 25.


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