Union in Brief – November 2014

November 2014

Arbitration Win Strengthens Our Contract

There’s good news all around from a recent arbitration win. The Union won nearly 13 months back pay and benefits for an ambulatory care RN who was removed from work after her Kaiser physician imposed a restriction against lifting, pulling, or pushing more than 10 pounds. Kaiser removed her, saying she wouldn’t be able to move or lift patients, push them in a wheelchair, or perform CPR in an emergency. The arbitrator’s decision has reinforced the strength of Section 1817 of our Kaiser contract, which says that a bargaining unit member returning to work after an occupational injury or illness will be placed in their original position if they can perform “substantially all the job tasks.” The arbitrator found that in this RN’s position, duties requiring the RN to exceed the work restriction were very rare, and where needed they could easily be performed by other staff, and thus, the RN could perform “substantially all the job tasks.” Therefore, the arbitration decision faults Kaiser for removing the RN from her job, restores to the RN her back pay and benefits, and sets a strong precedent for interpretation and enforcement of an important protection in our contract.

Governor to Strengthen Staffing Enforcement Again Thanks to UNAC/UHCP

A few months ago, UNAC/UHCP and the California Legislature delivered SB 455 to California Governor Jerry Brown, a bill that would require the California Department of Public Health to survey for compliance with California’s nurse-to-patient ratio law. In a meeting with the Governor’s administration to discuss SB 455, the Department of Public Health stated that they were in the process of doing exactly what SB 455 called for, to survey for compliance. After the meeting, UNAC/UHCP found itself in familiar territory, another UNAC/UHCP bill leading the Governor to strengthening the staffing law administratively. Earlier in April, Governor Brown implemented regulations to fine hospitals patient safety violations, following UNAC/UHCP’s SB 1246 in 2012.