RGH leaders and nurses meet about wages and benefits; Still haven’t reached agreement

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Management at Rochester General Hospital and the union that represents its nurses met on Monday to negotiate wages, benefits, holiday pay, and vacation time.

The meeting was the 20th collective bargaining session since last October and the two groups still haven’t agreed on a contract. During the session, the Rochester Union of Nurses and Allied Professionals (RUNAP) and hospital leaders discussed a series of proposals and counter-proposals.

The next bargaining sessions are scheduled for September 21 and 27 and there may be additional working sessions before that. Here is the bargaining update from the Facebook page of RUNAP:

Here are some of the 13 counter-proposals that Rochester General Hospital posted to its website:

  • Insurance Benefits: RGH’s counterproposal includes Health, Dental, Vision and Life Insurance coverage that represents the same offerings as those provided to all other employees of the RRH healthcare system, with the addition of a 30-day notice period to RUNAP for impacted employees prior to any changes being made. Eligibility to receive benefits for full- and part-time nurses who are regularly scheduled to work a minimum of twenty (20) hours per week will remain the same. RGH also proposed that current 2023 Health, Dental, Vision and Life Insurance rates will remain the same for all RUNAP-represented employees for the remainder of 2023 and will not increase more than 7% in a single calendar year for each succeeding years of the agreement. The proposal also stated that bargaining unit employees are required to use RRH or mail order pharmacies to access all prescriptions, with any exceptions that may be outlined in the healthcare plans offered by RRH.
  • Holidays: RGH proposed to provide eight paid holidays after RUNAP dropped its request at an earlier bargaining session for an additional holiday.
  • Vacation: To recognize the service and commitment of our longer-tenured nurses, RGH maintained its prior proposal to increase the annual accrual for employees with 15-24 years of service by one day, and 25+ years of service by one day.
  • Retirement Benefits: RGH maintained its previous counterproposal on this topic, with a significant change that all bargaining unit nurses hired on or before ratification of the collective bargaining agreement who meet plan eligibility requirements will be grandfathered into the existing defined benefit pension plan and that all newly hired RUNAP employees will be offered the same retirement options as non-RUNAP employees.

Monday’s session came over a month after RGH nurses went on two-day strike after the union and the hospital couldn’t reach a contract agreement. Nurses picketed around the hospital’s main entrance, calling for fairer wages and more staffing. The strike didn’t impact patient care.

RUNAP represents about 900 nurses and other professionals. The nurses unionized last year and are trying to reach their first ever contract.