Union in Brief – October 2012

October 2012

Newest Affiliate: BHRNA

Let’s welcome the newest official UNAC/UHCP affiliate: BHRNA, or the Beverly Hospital Registered Nurses Association. They adopted their new affiliate name when they approved their constitution in July.

BHRNA has been on the fast track since winning their first contract in May. In August they elected their inaugural affiliate officers: Isaac Saroia, President; Mirka Bojarczak, Vice President, Marites “Mayet” Riva, Secretary; and Susan Justin, Treasurer.

UNAC/UHCP staff also held Contract Enforcement classes in July, so BHRNA can hit the ground running. The class participants learned about the rights and protections they’ve won, and how to enforce them in the workplace.

Parkview RNs Stand Up For Their Rights and Win

Parkview RNs recently won a huge victory forcing management to acknowledge their right as union members to stand up for themselves without retaliation. The PRNA contract says that bargaining unit RNs should be awarded OT shifts before registry or traveler RNs. Last December, management violated that article. So Parkview RNs exercised their right to file a grievance. They won, and the nurses who had been canceled improperly were compensated for the overtime shifts they would have worked.

But then at an ICU staff meeting in January, the Critical Care Director in effect threatened that if any RNs exercised their right to voluntary overtime, she would personally review their charts and would report any errors directly to the BRN to request revocation of those RNs’ licenses, bypassing HR and UNAC/UHCP.

Parkview RNs refused to be intimidated. They filed a second grievance.On Wednesday, July 11, the night before the grievance was scheduled to go to an arbitration hearing, management settled. Parkview agreed to:

  1. Sign a notice that spells out our rights under federal law and our contract, and Parkview’s commitment not to violate those rights
  2. Post the notice in all four of the Critical Care Director’s units and HR for 60 days
  3. Have the HR Director read the notice to staff in the presence of the Critical Care Director

When their contract was violated, Parkview RNs stood up to protect their rights and won.

Big Victory in Overpayment Issue at Kaiser

Hundreds of UNAC/UHCP members do not have to repay wages overpaid to them by Kaiser, thanks to our victory in a recent settlement agreement. Kaiser had sent threatening letters demanding immediate repayment of more than a million dollars from UNAC/UHCP members in alleged overpayments going back up to seven years. UNAC/UHCP filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board as well as a regional grievance.

To settle both the grievance and the ULP, Kaiser agreed to take no further steps to collect the overpayments, which were made due to errors by Kaiser National Payroll. Going forward, Kaiser agreed to send no overpayment notices for amounts less than $500 or seek repayment going back more than three years. It has also agreed that any future overpayment letters will inform members of their right to contact a union representative and enter into repayment plans beyond Kaiser’s previously suggested 1-13 pay periods. And as a result of UNAC/UHCP fighting this issue, Kaiser has taken meaningful steps to permanently correct the system errors that caused the mistaken payments.