Bargaining Update - CHEU Negotiations


09.02.2017

Palomar Health met with the Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union on September 1 for continued contract negotiations. Union leaders decided to spend their time that week distributing flyers threatening a strike, instead of being prepared for negotiations.  Palomar Health arrived at 8:00 am, focused on bargaining in good faith toward a new contract. The Union did not have any proposals ready for us until after 1:00 pm.   
 Unfortunately, strikes don’t bring two sides closer together.  It is our firm belief that the best avenue toward resolving our differences is through negotiation and compromise at the bargaining table. Regrettably, CHEU’s proposals demonstrate little if any willingness to compromise. The Union does not appear interested in reaching a deal any time soon. CHEU continues to make unrealistic economic demands that are not financially supportable, while rejecting our proposals to address important needs.  For example, we want to be able to give Caregivers additional pay increases above and beyond what the parties agree to in the contract, to ensure our salaries remain competitive.  CHEU has rejected this proposal, which actually benefits everyone.
We believe we are offering Caregivers a strong contract, with fair and competitive wages, benefits and working conditions. We have already agreed to numerous changes that CHEU has requested throughout the contract.  We would like to provide Caregivers with the guaranteed pay increases we have offered upon ratification of the agreement:
  • The first day of the pay period after this contract is ratified – a pay increase of 1.0%
  • The first day of the pay period after this contract is ratified – each Caregiver would receive his/her pay step increase.  (The average step percent increase for CHEU bargaining unit positions is 2.28%).
  • The first day of the pay period in January 2018 – a pay increase of 1.25%
If CHEU accepts our proposal, Caregivers’ pay will increase by over 4.50% by January 2018 (1% upon ratification, 2.28% average step increase, plus 1.25% in January 2018).  In addition, we have a proposed an exciting new Critical Staffing Incentive program for Caregivers. This voluntary program would provide Caregivers with opportunities to earn valuable bonus awards for helping fill critical shifts.  Caregivers who work shifts designated as “critical need” shifts would earn 25% more per hour, on average. 
These are substantial improvements over our last contract. In fact, Palomar Health is investing more than $14 million in additional wages, salaries and benefits toward our hard-working and loyal employees.
Having a current contract is important for our ability to recruit new employees.  This is a goal shared by both parties. We believe this contract can be settled in an efficient manner through negotiation and compromise at the bargaining table.  We look forward to our next meeting on September 15. 


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