Rochester Union of Nurses will hold picket about contract

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A local nurses union is holding a picket on Tuesday afternoon to call for a fair contract from Rochester General Hospital.

The Rochester Union of Nurses and Allied Professionals will be at the hospital’s main entrance on Portland Avenue from 4 to 7 p.m. A statement from the union says:

“We will be joined by local labor leaders and community allies to discuss conditions at the hospital, the hospital’s inadequate proposals to fix their issues, and unsafe experiences their own family members have had at the hospital.”

Rochester Regional Health, which owns the hospital, says it has been negotiating with the union for six months in hopes of reaching an agreement. A statement from RRH says that it has made counterproposals which in some cases, the union has flatly rejected. The most recent bargaining session was on April 11, where hospital administration made proposals about wages, device pay, differentials, insurance benefits, holidays, and vacation.

Here is the full statement from RRH:

“Rochester General Hospital (RGH) and the Rochester Union of Nurses & Allied Professionals (RUNAP) have been actively negotiating for six months with the goal of reaching a first collective bargaining agreement. In the 195 days since negotiations first began, the parties have agreed to and met for a total of nine negotiating sessions.”

“It is important to note that first collective bargaining agreements take an average of 465 days from the beginning of negotiations until a contract is reached and ratified, according to Bloomberg Law. However, RGH is committed to working through the issues as quickly and thoroughly as possible to reach an agreement.”

“While many union negotiations begin with “non-economic” issues (such as work rules and scheduling practices) and then focus on “economic” issues (such as wages and benefits), RUNAP presented virtually all of their proposals at once in the first two sessions.”

“RGH spent the last several months working diligently to review the union’s proposals, determine their potential impact on the Hospital and the entire Rochester Regional Health system, and develop its own counterproposals to respond to RUNAP. This was a labor and time-intensive process, and RGH was moving as expeditiously as possible. RGH has now presented over 30 proposals and counterproposals to RUNAP in our prior meetings. RUNAP has responded to some of RGH’s proposals/counterproposals and, in some cases, RUNAP has flatly rejected RGH’s proposed contract language without a new counterproposal response. At the most recent bargaining session on April 11, RGH put forward a number of proposals related to important economic issues, such as wages, device pay, differentials, insurance benefits, holidays, vacation and more. RUNAP presented some revised counterproposals on those topics, held on their original proposals with respect to some of those items, and requested additional information from RGH.”

“There is more work to be done as RGH and RUNAP continue to meet and negotiate. RGH remains committed to bargaining in good faith with the goal of reaching a collective bargaining agreement that ensures patients receive the best possible care and that nurses are treated fairly and can do their best work. RGH knows the vitally important role nurses play in making it a well-respected and leading hospital in the State of New York. RGH has the highest respect for its nurses and is extremely grateful for all they do every day to care for patients.”