Sign the Petition: Healthcare For All, Not a Costly Recall

USC Bargaining

University of Southern California healthcare workers have been on the frontlines of the pandemic. As we negotiate a new contract, it's important that USC management remember the lessons all of us have learned over the past year. USC must protect our health and the health of our patients at all times and under any circumstances. That starts with providing affordable healthcare and preserving our right as caregivers to advocate for the highest standard of patient care.



Bargaining Updates

Keck/Norris bargaining update #8 (April 13, 2021)

Published Monday, April 19, 2021 #

My dearest fellow NUHW members,

We had our seventh bargaining session with USC and their EBG law team today. Several economic proposals were made.  USC chose not to respond to them.  Adam C. Abrahms of EBG Law said USC did not want to respond to our proposals until agreements were made for the non-economic articles of the contract.  USC basically chose not to respond, causing this session to end early.

The Economic Proposals made included:

Article 18 – Education Benefits – proposing an increase to our tuition reimbursement, and that the Hospital will pay for all mandatory in service courses and educational classes.

Article 19 – Leaves of Absence – proposing clean up language to our bereavement benefit to include sons and daughters in law, nieces, nephews, stepbrothers, stepfather and stepmother.

Article 33 – Parking – proposing to maintain free parking, additional clean up language and also that employees coming in from standby status should be able to park in the main hospital structure at no cost.

Article 11 – Hours of Work – Overtime and Scheduling – proposing that employees hired into a M-F position not have to work weekends and that if the Hospital wants to implement weekend scheduling they will meet and confer with the Union on terms and rates of pay.

We did reach an agreement on our contract Article 31 – Uniforms – which explains that the Hospital will provide us our uniforms needed for our work. But not much more.

For meal and rest periods, we agreed as a bargaining committee that we want to memorialize that all covered employees receive at least 15 minute breaks.

We need to push forward in getting our contract settled the way we need it to be.  It needs to be a fair contract for which we all are compensated and protected in serving our patients to the best of our ability.

Our next session is Thursday where we plan to propose our new wage scale and other economic items. As we head into the next few weeks there are serious differences between us and the Hospital. We have to prepare to escalate our actions and fight for what we deserve.

“Always remember, your present situation is not your final destination.  THE BEST IS YET TO COME.”

In solidarity,

Joyce Noguera
Patient Care Assistant
Bargaining Committee Member
Norris Comprehensive Cancer Hospital of USC

Ambulatory bargaining update #4 (April 9, 2021)

Published Monday, April 19, 2021 #

Hello NUHW members,

Today was our fourth session with the company and we continued to discuss important items regarding seniority, layoff protections, union access, steward’s rights and release time for union stewards.

Although we did not reach any agreements, we are closer to agreement on these issues but still not there. The Employer agreed to move off some of their positions trying to limit access by our Union Representatives and also agreed to increase the number of paid hours that shop stewards are paid for release time to attend monthly steward council meetings.

We also managed to come much closer to agreement on our reduction in force article which protects our jobs in the event of layoffs.

The other important issues that we are sticking to are that disciplines expire after a year. We need to preserve our ability to take action and picket and leaflet. And we need to ban subcontracting.

In the coming weeks we will work on proposals to make significant positive changes to our wage scale and improve our benefits. 

Join us at our next bargaining dates: 

April 20: 10a – 5p 

April 21: 10a – 5p 

April 22: 10a – 5p 

Stay tuned!

Jeeny Nunez Cruz, Scheduling Coordinator – Transplant

Members deliver petition to administration

Published Thursday, April 8, 2021 #

Nearly one thousand NUHW members at Keck Medical Center of USC, Norris Cancer Center of USC, the Ambulatory Clinics, and Alhambra Call Center signed a petition urging the administration to come to the table and bargain in good faith a contract that prioritizes the safety and security of caregivers and patients.

The petition was delivered to hospital leadership on March 2.

By signing this petition, these members also authorize their bargaining teams to schedule an informational picket should Keck Administration continue to postpone bargaining for ambulatory, threaten to subcontract work at the Call Center, and/or refuse to bargain a contract that provides for safe workplaces, fair staffing and scheduling practices, and economic justice or workers.

Read the full petition here.

 

 

Keck/Norris bargaining update #6 (April 1, 2021)

Published Thursday, April 1, 2021 #

Dear NUHW Members,

We had our 6th negotiation session for our Keck / Norris contract. We did not reach an agreement on any articles today.

We proposed updated language on pandemic protections, economic support, PPE protections, extra PTO if we have to quarantine, enshrining many COVID safe practices already in effect and hazard pay for all NUHW members. They have still not responded to these very important health and safety items that hundreds of union members indicated were of critical importance in our bargaining surveys. The fact that the company cannot commit to many things that are already in place is very disappointing.

The employer is still proposing several items that we will not agree to:

  • Ban on picketing and leafleting
  • Limitations on release time for our shop stewards
  • Language on workplace violence that decreases our job security
  • Separating the different clinics and hospitals from each other into different bargaining units (this makes us much weaker)
  • Disciplines only expire after 2 years not 1. (Company moved off their original position)

We are not interested in losing any of the standards we have fought to achieve in our contract. We know there are many areas we need to improve and we remain committed to restoring Norris Holiday Pay, increasing our pay scales in alignment with other top hospitals, and establishing strong health and safety protections for ourselves and our patients.

In the upcoming week, as a committee, we will begin to prepare our economic proposals and start to prepare for a potential strike, if the Hospital does not agree to our reasonable demands.

We will remain united and strong and are committed to bargaining in good faith. However we will be prepared to take action in order to achieve our most important goals.

In solidarity,

Brian Dodero
Respiratory Therapist, Keck

Keck/Norris bargaining update #4 (March 31, 2021)

Published Wednesday, March 31, 2021 #

Dear NUHW members,

We had our fifth session today, with lots of NUHW members present. We are focused on addressing non-economic issues, and reached agreement on Appendix A – Department Groupings, which comes into effect if there are layoffs.

We are closer to agreement on Article 5 Job Vacancies – where the employer conditionally withdrew their proposal to prohibit employees from applying to new positions if they have disciplines in their file.

We are also closer on Article 9 – Grievance Procedure where our timelines are intact. The only hang up is they want the loser of an arbitration to pay for all the costs. This has always been a shared cost in the spirit of collective bargaining – we cannot accept their proposal.

In other areas, they are holding to several unacceptable provisions:

1. Ban on picketing / leafletting — this is a fundamental right we need as union members to enforce our contract and go public with concerns we have as staff.

2. They have proposed a vague workplace violence provision which erodes our job security

3. They rejected entirely our proposed correction of the attendance policy the company rolled out last year.  This is unacceptable. We need to correct the punitive attendance policy and restore our rights under the law with respect to kin care and sick hours.

We have another session tomorrow where we will try to advance these non-economic issues. Then we will begin to craft our economic proposals as a committee.

Stay tuned, and let me know if you want to become involved.

We need to stay together and be ready to fight for what we deserve!

In Solidarity,
Xochilt Olague
CST, Endoscopy Tech II

Ambulatory bargaining update #2 (March 26, 2021)

Published Friday, March 26, 2021 #

Dear fellow NUHW members,

Today in negotiations we reached several agreements on different articles and also were presented some unacceptable proposals from the company that they have also given to our co-workers in the Hospitals.

We reached agreement on three more articles:

Successorship: This is a very important job security provision. In the event any of the clinics are sold or transfer control, they must retain our employment and union contract.

Employment and Income Security: A host of services the employer has committed to us in the event we are laid off or displaced.

Bargaining Unit Work: Supervisors cannot be doing our work and vice versa (this protects our jobs and encourages adequate staffing).

We had discussion on steward’s rights, union access, our grievance procedure, discipline, job vacancies and transfers. The employer proposed several unacceptable items including:

Subcontracting: This is very dangerous. Right now the employer cannot subcontract our work to an outside organization – this is a very important job protection. Today they proposed that at any time, management has the ability to subcontract our work.

Ban on picketing and leafleting: In the past we have voted to stage informational pickets, and leafletted the community to protest egregious moves by the Hospital. These are important tools for us to flex our power and alert the community to wrongdoing by our employer.

Discipline: Right now all disciplines (attendance or otherwise) expire after a calendar year. The employer is proposing that they never leave our record. We cannot stand for this.

In the coming weeks we will be preparing our economic proposal, continue our push to win the free family healthcare that our brothers and sisters in the Hospital currently have, and we want to enshrine protections for ourselves and our patients in the event of a future pandemic.

We have fought and won before, we need to stick together and stay involved.

In Solidarity,
Lucy Lamont
Administrative Assistant
Orthopedic Clinic in HC2

Keck/Norris bargaining update #3 (March 15, 2021)

Published Monday, March 15, 2021 #

Dear NUHW members,

Today in negotiations we reached several agreements on different articles and also were presented some unacceptable proposals from the company that they also have to the Nurses earlier.

Representing our union was: Ericka Contreras (bio-med), Nichole Ambriz (surgery), Doug Kauffman (Social Services), Brian Dodero (RT), Joyce Noguera, Erik Santifer (food and nutrition services), Natalie Couch (imaging), Mark Delgado (Surgery), Dan Olivares (anesthesia), Ray Medina (imaging), Noemi Aguirre (RT), James Ayers (RT), Claudia Hidalgo (GI), Patricia Barahona (5N).

The employer is willing to agree on seven articles: employee status, union non-discrimination, committees for quality care and working environment, successorship, notices to the parties, savings clause, employment and income security and bargaining unit work.

We had extensive discussion on our proposals around stewards rights, union access, layoff protections, seniority, job vacancies, our grievance procedure, discipline and vacation scheduling. We made some headway on these items but are still lacking agreement on all the contours of the language.

Despite this progress, the employer proposed three glaring items that are unacceptable and frankly insulting:

Subcontracting: This is very dangerous. Right now the employer cannot subcontract our work to an outside organization – this is a very important job protection. Today they proposed that at any time, management has the ability to subcontract our work.

No pandemic preparedness and Hazard Pay: We presented a detailed proposal to protect ourselves and our patients during this and any future pandemic. We also proposed fair hazard pay to compensate us as essential employees who may come to work in future pandemic

conditions. Not only did they not respond, they find it completely “inappropriate” that we propose employee protections and additional Compensation

No picketing or leafleting: In the past we have voted to stage informational pickets, and leafletted the community to protest egregious moves by the hospital. And these actions work to change the behavior of the hospital — that is why they want to strip this right of ours.

These issues are fundamental to our union and our ability to maintain our job security and the safety of ourselves and our patients. Management’s positions on these items are not surprising as they have proposed similar curtailment of rights to our sisters and brothers in the CNA (nurse’s union). We will continue our negotiations on March 29.

As always, we will strive to improve our working conditions and we remain committed to fighting for the things that our members have expressed in their bargaining surveys.

It will be a fight to achieve our goals!

We should remain strong and prepared to picket and potentially strike if we must.

Stay ready and stay tuned!

In solidarity,
Audra Goedemans
IOM Tech, Keck Hospital

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 https://nuhw.org/wp-content/uploads/usc-bargaining-letter-from-nuhw-2021-03-02.pdf) 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

Keck/Norris bargaining update #2 (March 2, 2021)

Published Tuesday, March 2, 2021 #

Dear NUHW members:

Today was our second day of negotiations for a new contract for our coworkers at Keck Hospital and Norris Cancer Center. We were represented by: Brian Dodero, Nichole Ambriz, Richard Aguayo, James Ayers, Judy Oliva, Noemi Aguirre, Doug Kauffman, Mark Delgado, Claudia Hidalgo, Audra Goedemans, Jimmy Franco, Raymond Medina, Maria Guevara, Nichole Ambriz, Tran Su, Joyce Noguera, Maria Hyde, Xochilt Olague, Ericka Contreras, and myself, Daniel Olivares.

We have mixed news from today. We identified 6 articles of existing contract language where we can reach a tentative agreement. However, that was overshadowed by several takeaways the employer proposed at the end of our session. The areas of agreement are:

  • Article 3: Employee status: This defines full time, part time and per diem statuses
  • Article 8: Committees for quality care and working environment: This is a staffing committee that meets on paid time to address staffing inequities at work
  • Article 20: Successorship: In the event the hospital(s) are sold to another entity, the new employer will retain the workforce and retain our union contract. Important protection!
  • Article 25: Notices to the parties: Defines the physical addresses that the parties will use for official correspondence
  • Article 26: Savings clause: Clarifies how our contract interacts with state law
  • Article 29: Employment and income security: A commitment by employer to provide a range of services guaranteeing income hours, and a suite of services that will help employees in the event of a layoff
  • Article 30: Bargaining unit work: Supervisors will not do our jobs, and we will not do theirs

With over 20 NUHW member leaders present, the employer had the audacity to propose several takeaways that are unacceptable:

  • Disciplines never leave your file, they can use disciplines older than a year. DRASTIC TAKEAWAY
  • They want union stewards to perform their duties as stewards off the clock
  • Mgmt wants limit the ability of union reps to access the Hospital and use break rooms
  • 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

After USC’s attorney presented these takeaways, we sent the company a strong example of our power and strength 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 address restoring Norris Holidays, compensating employees for working through a pandemic, enhancing safety protections for all NUHW members and fixing the punitive attendance policy. 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 15 over zoom from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In unity and solidarity,

Daniel Olivares
Surgical Tech
Keck Hospital

Keck/Norris bargaining update #1 (March 1, 2021)

Published Monday, March 1, 2021 #

Good afternoon fellow NUHW members at Keck Hospital and Norris,

Today was our first day of negotiations for our new NUHW contract! I’m Noemi Aguirre, Respiratory Therapist, and a member of our elected Bargaining Committee.

Earlier today we met across the table with Keck management via Zoom and began what we believe will be a difficult negotiations contract campaign.

Present for the employer were: Lisa Joins, Jonathan Warren, Leilani Sarmiento, Tanesha Brooks, Awa Jones, Tammy Murphy, Miguel Gonzalez, George Sarkissian, Brenda Dudley, Christin Shaw, Auggie Mares, J Savoie, and attorneys Adam Abrahms and Brooke Olsen. Adam Abrahms is the company’s chief spokesperson.

Our union was represented by members Alejandra Martinez (Surgery) Brian Dodero (Respiratory), Claudia Hidalgo (GI), Daniel Olivares (Surgery), Ericka Contreras (BioMed), James Ayers (Respiratory), Maria Guevara (GI), Mark Delgado (Surgery), Nicole Ambriz (Surgery), and Noemi Aguirre (Respiratory), as well as NUHW staff Francisco Cendejas, Ian Woolverton, Michael Torres, and Sophia Mendoza.

NUHW presented proposals on the following current contract articles:

  • Article 1: Recognition: Acknowledging Food and Nutrition services, Sleep Center, and Social Services as members of the union.
  • Article 4b: Reduction in force/bumping: Clarifies language during a RIF or layoff that employees will not lose wages for taking a position in a lower paid job class as a result;
  • Article 5: Job Vacancies/posting and bidding: We proposed closing the loop on unfilled positions by requiring the employer to give us notice if they don’t intend to fill it and be responsive to questions about filling the position.
  • Article 6: Non-discrimination/Harrassment: Proposed striking obligation of employee to seek remedy through the OED. OED is an umbrella department under USC, creating another step that union members have to go through to resolve claims of harassment or discrimination.
  • Article 9: Grievance Procedure: Clarification on internal process for notifying arbitrator of selection process.
  • Article 10: Discipline: We proposed ensuring that members who are placed on an unpaid investigatory leave get those days paid back
  • Article 12: Floating: Proposed extending floating language to include non-nursing departments such as EVS and Biomed or engineering or cspd, for example. Makes it voluntary
  • Article 22: Subcontracting: Proposed a ban on subcontracting
  • Proposed resolution of Attendance Policy grievance/arbitration: Aims to fix Kincare and eliminate 96 hour cap. Allows employees to use 50% of PTO towards kincare on a rolling 12 month basis. Restores Attendance policy prior to February 2020 and eliminates disciplines issued under current policy.
    Proposed restoration of Norris Holiday Pay, with strengthened and clarified language in the contract. The company expressed opposition to this immediately, saying that we should not propose economic proposals until later, but we made clear that this was a high priority to our Bargaining Committee.

These articles were discussed with the employer, and we expect to hear some responses at our next session tomorrow, March 2. More news to come.

Reporting live from the trenches,

Noemi Aguirre
Respiratory Therapy
NUHW Bargaining team member