Contract Negotiations: Weeks 8-10

Things are moving. As groups continue to present to the main table, we're finding that the side-table structure we developed for this negotiations has moved a lot of ideas forward, relatively quickly.

Most commonly, these joint union-management groups have reached a consensus that the participants feel good about. Often those involved have been surprised to have crafted options that they couldn’t have foreseen. We have uncovered a lot of overlapping interests as we compare perspectives.

Of course, the details get complicated. Some side tables have worked to develop promising options, only to realize that, for one reason or another, they turned out to be unfeasible.

Predictably, not all of the issues have resolved quickly, in spite of long hours and thoughtful work. Some recognize that they are unlikely to reach consensus around a single option, and have instead presented to the main table multiple ideas, some of which better represent the interests of one side, and others which represent the other.

Side-Table and Follow-Up Groups have reconvened with the Main Table to present interests and options around the following subjects:
  • Unit-Based Teams and Culture
  • Inpatient PCA Staffing Levels
  • Career Development
  • Process for Job Postings
  • Call-Back and Sleep Policies
  • Peer-Slotted Scales
  • Pension Floor
  • Leaves of Absence
  • Absenteeism
  • Cross-Campus Floating
  • Discipline
  • Work Security
  • Documenting Department Policies
  • A new vision for the relationship between managers & front-line members
  • Staffing
  • Wages
In any negotiations, “money issues” (including raises.) tend to get resolved at the very end, when the larger picture is more clear, and the costs better defined. We continue to work at those issues, and on those issues where our perspectives remain far from one another.

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, the professor from Brandeis who coached both teams on Interest Based Bargaining methods, recently returned from a commitment in Australia. SHARE and hospital management asked him to resume his role as a neutral facilitator as we work to reach an overarching agreement.