We had our second to last scheduled bargaining session last night, and our first with a federal mediator present. Turnout at last night’s meeting was incredible with Technical Professionals packing the room from the outset. This is exactly the kind of energy and participation that we need as we continue to fight for a contract that will help to recruit and retain Technical Professionals in support of quality patient care. We need even more members to come to tomorrow’s session (2/23) at 4:00PM in the McClure Lobby Conference Room wearing your red shirts to keep the pressure up. Additionally, we must be prepared to continue to show up should we not be able to reach agreement tomorrow. To that end, we will be hosting a Honk & Wave at our VFNHP union office (96 Colchester Ave- across the street from UVMMC) on Sunday, February 26 at noon. We all need to stand together at both this next bargaining session as well as at Sunday’s Honk & Wave in order to get the contract we deserve.
In terms of last night’s session, we started things off by putting forward a package of proposals that included the following:
Wages: We shifted our proposal to intially, upon ratification, bring everyone up to at least $20.50/hr and for those above that to get a 10% increase. Subsequent increases would include a 6% wage increase + 2% step increase in October 2023 and a 5% wage increase + a 2% step increase in October 2024. We are still proposing a 2 year contract terms based on overall economic volatility as well as rapidly changing conditions within healthcare. Here is our 2/21 Wage Proposal.
Differentials: We held to our Differentials proposal from last session. As a reminder, we proposed increasing differentials to the following rates: Evenings-$2.50/hr in March & $3.00/hr in October 2023, Nights- $6.00 in March & $6.50/hr in October 2023, Weekends-$3.50/hr, Per Diems- (Holiday-$4.00/hr, Night-$5.00/hr, Weekend-$5.00/hr, Evening-$3.50/hr, & Day-$2.00/hr), Charge- $3.00/hr, Floating-$3.00/hr, creating a Preceptor differential at $2.00/hr in March and $2.50/hr in October 2023, creating a Crisis Differential for any unit that has a permanent staff vacancy rate of 20% or more at $2.50/hr, & keeps the same language in our current contract for the Respiratory Transport differential. Our proposal also included moving all technical professionals to the higher differential rate (Level B) and eliminate the lower differential rate (Level A). Here is our 2/15 Differentials Proposal.
On-Call/Call In: We proposed increasing call pay to $7.00/hr at ratification and then increasing it to $8.00/hr in October 2023, that bargaining unit employees who are required and scheduled to be on call for at least one hundred fifty hours in a calendar quarter will be paid a premium of an additional three dollars $3.00/hr starting at ratification, Called-In/On-Call x2 language, and stronger language around the rest period. Here is our 2/21 On-Call/Call-In Proposal.
Here are the other proposals in our 2/21 package: Article 2- Recognition, Article 4- Union Access, Article 9- Per Diem, Article 10A- Orientation, Article 12- Vacancy (from 2/15), Article 18- Hours of Work (from 2/15), Article 18A- Scheduling Vacations, Article 18B- Summer CTO (from 2/15), Article 25- Holidays (from 2/15), Article 29- Educational Reimbursement, Article 30- Flexible Benefits (from 2/8), Article 32- CTO (from 2/8), Article 34- FMLA, Article 43- Health & Safety (from 2/15), Article 44- Planning for the Future (from 12/7), Article 45- Parking, Article 50- Duration, Side Letter: Imaging Technologist Bonuses
If Mgmt agreed to these proposals, then we said we would agree to the following proposals from Mgmt: Article 1- Preamble, Article 16- Layoff, Article 17- Recall
Mgmt then left the room to discuss our proposal. During that time, we made signs for Sunday’s Honk & Wave that included some great slogans (“Last Year Hero, This Year Zero,” “Not All Heroes Can Afford Capes,” “Don’t Lie-We Can Spot A-Fib,” and “Radiology Can See Through You.”) We’ll do this again during caucuses on Thursday, so bring your most creative slogans.
Unfortunately, Mgmt did not agree to our package. Instead, they countered with their own package that included:
Wages: Mgmt continues to provide widely varied initial increases across units/departments and even within departments. As you can see on their 2/21 wage scale, they have made no additional movement for our lowest paid Technical Professionals, keeping their start rate at $19/hr. They then changed the initial increase rates for some positions but not others. This is a classic tactic from Mgmt to get us fighting amongst ourselves, which is why we continue to hold to our position that we need to significantly raise the wage floor while also having an initial across the board percentage increase for all. Mgmt’s proposal also included a 3% wage increase + 2% step increase in October 2023, a 1% wage increase + 2% step increase in October 2024, and a 3% wage increase + 2% step increase in October 2025. They are still proposing a three year contract. Here is Mgmt’s 2/21 Wage Proposal.
Differentials: Mgmt held to their 2/15 Differentials proposal that included: Evenings-$2.50/hr, Nights-$6.00/hr, Weekends-$3.50/hr, Per Diem- $2.50/hr, Charge-$3.00/hr, weaker Respiratory Transport differential language, and accepted our proposal to add a Float differential, but proposed $2/hr for it. They also agreed to the Union’s proposal to move all technical professionals to the higher differential rate (Level B) and eliminate the lower differential rate (Level A).
On-Call/Call-In: Mgmt held to their 2/15 On-Call/Called-In proposal, which increased the call pay rate to $6.00/hr in March, $6.50/hr in October 2024, and $7.00/hr in October 2025. Their proposal for the On-Call premium was also $3.00/hr, but it wouldn’t take effect until October 2024. They also proposed Called-In/On-Call x2 language as a side letter that would only run through 7/9/23.
Their 2/21 package also included: Article 1- Duration (from 12/7), Article 2- Recognition (from 2/8), Article 4-Union Access, Article 9- Per Diem, Article 10A- Orientation/Training (from 2/15), Article 16- Layoff (from 12/7), Article 17- Recall (from 12/7), Article 18-Hours of Work/Staff Schedules, Article 18A- Scheduling Vacations, Article 18B- Summer CTO, Article 20A- Staffing Adjustments (from 2/15), Article 21- Floating (Agree to VFNHP 2/15 proposal), Article 25-Holiday Pay, Article 29- Educational Reimbursement, Article 43- Health & Safety, Article 45- Parking (From 12/7), Article 50- Duration (from 2/15).
Notably, their package does not include increases to CTO, improvements to healthcare or paid family leave (FMLA), or bonuses for Imaging Technologists who did not receive them last year.
As you can see, we are far apart on a wide variety of proposals, which is why, again, it is so crucial that you all show up to tomorrow’s session and be prepared to come to the Honk & Wave on Sunday should we not reach agreement.
VP, VFNHP Technical Professionals