We came to the negotiating table with Cook County Health with what we believe is a shared set of goals: To make real progress toward CCH becoming a ‘Provider and Employer of Choice’ for patients and workers.
While there was some progress on important issues such as transfers, promotions, seniority rights, on-call, scheduling, and limiting the use of floating or temporary transfers, there are still difficult obstacles to getting to an agreement that serves patients and workers:
- CCH proposes to provide greater protection for outsourced agency workers over County employees when there is a lay-off
- CCH does not want to count hours worked on a holiday toward overtime eligibility
- CCH is rejecting Union proposals that make us a partner in addressing short-staffing by making sure workers have a seat at the table, CCH is transparent and held accountable for chronic short-staffing
- Instead, CCH wants to continue to use expensive short-term band-aids like outsourcing our work to private companies, overusing on-call, floating, and mandatory overtime. None of these things are solutions to short-staffing, and they waste money, are bad for patient care, and demoralize frontline employees
In addition, we know (and the County knows) that we will not fix the structural short-staffing unless they are willing to spend money to recruit, retain and respect frontline hospital and healthcare workers. The CCH and County budgets are strong, but so far their priorities are wrong.
Here is what we proposed:
- Increased steps to reward longevity and experience
- Equal pay for equal work
- Across-the-board raises that make up for years of small or no raises
- Pay based on licensure and professional experience
- Improved tuition reimbursement and other educational benefits
- Maintain affordable health insurance and extended benefits for retirees.
It’s time for solutions to problems, not excuses about why they can’t do the right thing.