Ambulatory bargaining update #1 (March 12, 2021)

Published Friday, March 12, 2021

Dear NUHW members: 

Today we had our first negotiations session with USC for a new union contract, and we have lots to report!  Our first negotiation session with USC today for our ambulatory clinics. In attendance for the union Bargaining Committee were Lucy Lamont (Ortho), Desaray Veloz (Transplant), Regina Bartsch (Imaging), Kristin O’Leary (PET), Jeeny Nunez (Transplant) and Denise Rodriguez (dermatology). We made it clear today that Ambulatory members faced significant uncertainty and disruption during the pandemic, and were flexible along the way.  Now, we are bargaining to make significant improvements to our contract. 

First, the good news. We identified seven contract articles where we can reach a tentative agreement, agreeing to keep them the same or just update language. These were:  

  • Preamble
  • Article 3: Employee Status 
  • Article 7: Union Non Discrimination 
  • Article 8: Committees For Quality Care and Working Environment
  • Article 25: Notices to Parties
  • Article 26: Savings Clause 
  • Article 31: Uniforms 

Today we also issued our initial non-economic proposals, which include the following changes to existing articles: 

  • Article 1: Union Recognition 
  • Article 4b: Protecting employees wages in the event of a layoff 
  • Article 5: Job vacancies: Establishing rules about timely filling of open positions
  • Article 6: Proposing that employees have the option of utilizing the Office of Equity and Diversity to resolve discrimination / harassment / retaliation claims but not requiring employees to go through this company controlled investigatory body 
  • Article 9: Streamlining the notification of how arbitrations are scheduled 
  • Article 10: Adding the final warning step to our disciplinary language 
  • Article 20: Cleaning up the language which protects our jobs and union contract if any of the union clinics are sold to another owner 
  • Article 22: Complete ban on subcontracting 
  • Article 25: Updating contact information 
  • Article 28: Allowing employees to take time off unpaid, and ability to take up to 2 weeks off unpaid if employee does not have any vacation accrued
  • Appendix A: Updating the department groupings to include Internal Medicine and Dermatology 

Later, the company had the audacity to propose several takeaways that are unacceptable. The Employer proposed the following:

  • Disciplines never leave your file, they can use disciplines older than a year. DRASTIC TAKEAWAY  
  • They want to restructure the reduction in force language which protects employees in the event of a layoff 
  • They want to have the ability to lay off specific shifts and departments without respecting seniority 
  • Management proposed shortening the timelines for the Union to file a grievance
  • If you have a discipline document it prevents you from applying to a job opening! 

Last week we sent the company a strong example of our power and strength (now at as a union. A supermajority of all NUHW members have signed a petition authorizing the Bargaining Committee to call for an informational picket if we need to. We told the Employer that we want to bargain in good faith to win a free family medical plan (that our hospital members have), compensating employees for working through a pandemic, enhancing safety protections for all NUHW members and winning top tier wages. In the past we have had to threaten to strike or go on strike to increase standards for all patients and workers at our hospitals. This negotiation is no different. We will not stand for a reduction in our standards–that is why so many of us are involved. 

The petition is a strong statement of our power and solidarity as a union. Our next bargaining session is March 26th over Zoom from 10a – 5pm. If you are interested in attending, please respond to this email with your name and job classification. 

In unity and solidarity,
The Ambulatory Bargaining Committee