The University of Vermont Medical Center,UPDATE: Late Monday night UVM Medical Center President Eileen Whalen sent the following statement: “We negotiated face-to-face with the nurses’ union tonight for several hours. The discussions were productive and we will resume negotiations Tuesday at 4pm. We will do our best to reach a fair agreement and avert a strike.”by Timothy McQuiston Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals and UVM Medical Center management have agreed to face-to-face negotiations on Monday and Tuesday at 4 pm. This follows from negotiations Friday evening involving a federal mediator. The union contract expired at one minute past midnight early Monday morning. The union represents 1,800 nurses, who have voted to hold a 48-hour strike starting July 12 at 7 am, barring an agreement. The hospital plans to enlist temporary nurses if so needed.Nurses rallied last Monday in front of the hospital when they first announced a two-day strike beginning July 12. VBM photo.The union asked for face-to-face negotiations following a mediated session Friday night that was unsuccessful in producing a shared agreement. The union has also claimed unfair labor practices committed by management.UVM Medical Center President Eileen Whalen issued the following statement over the weekend: “We did not reach agreement with the Vermont Federation of Health Professionals last night. After several exchanges with a mediator, the union informed us it is no longer willing to voluntarily use a mediator. This is very disappointing because mediation has been a successful approach in past negotiations, and was initiated after months of face-to-face negotiations were not producing results.“We’ve agreed to resume face-to-face negotiations at 4 pm on Monday and Tuesday, and are open to additional bargaining sessions in an effort to reach a fair agreement and avert a strike. We continue to suggest other meeting formats that commonly produce positive movement in labor negotiations, including smaller group discussions. “We hope during these sessions to receive a formal counter proposal on wages in response to the offer we put on the table last weekend.”Earlier Monday, over 50 people from Burlington-area labor unions held a press conference and rally at Burlington Fire Station #3 to demonstrate support for the UVM Medical Center nurses.The event was hosted by the Burlington Firefighters Association. Following the press conference, a delegation walked to the hospital’s administrative offices and spoke with Vice President for Human Resources Laurie Gunn, calling on her and colleagues to avert a strike by settling a fair contract in talks this evening.Participants in today’s press conference and rally included:AFSCME Local 1674 – HowardCenterAFSCME Local 1343 – Burlington municipal workersAFSCME Local 4802 – Vermont Homecare UnitedAFT Local 3203 – United Academics, UVM facultyAFT Local 5753 – Porter Federation of Nurses and Health ProfessionalsBFFA Local 3304 – Burlington Firefighters AssociationBurlington Education AssociationDemocratic Socialists of America – Burlington*First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington – Economic Justice Task ForceGreen Mountain Labor CouncilInternational Socialists OrganizationNew York State Nurses’ Association – Champlain Valley Physicians’ Hospital*Peace & Justice CenterRights & DemocracySEIU Local 200United – Champlain College Adjunct FacultyTeamsters Local 597 – GMTA Bus Drivers and UPS DriversUE Local 203 – City MarketVermont AFL-CIOVermont NEAVermont Workers’ Center* Sent a solidarity statementUVMMC also detailed its position Monday.“Face-to-face negotiations resumed today. We remain open to additional bargaining sessions in an effort to reach a fair agreement and avert a strike. We continue to suggest other meeting formats that commonly produce positive movement in labor negotiations, including mediation and smaller group discussions. The union’s attorney has informed us that the union is no longer willing to voluntarily use a mediator, which has proven successful in the past three contract settlements. We hope during these sessions to receive a formal counter proposal on wages in response to the offer we put on the table last weekend.“We want to assure our community we are prepared to continue providing the care patients need during the potential strike with as little disruption as possible.”Status of negotiations presented by UVMMCThe UVM Medical Center continues to negotiate with the union representing our nurses in hopes of averting a strike. The union has announced their intention to strike for 48 hours starting on Thursday, July 12, at 7 am. The union’s attorney informed us that the union would no longer voluntarily participate in mediation. We remain open to pursuing productive options to reach an agreement and have agreed to meet at 4 pm on Monday and Tuesday, July 9 and 10, to continue negotiations. We are hopeful we can reach an agreement.Investing in our missionAs a community hospital and provider of advanced care to our region, every decision we make is driven by our mission to provide the highest quality and safest care to our patients and families and improve health in the communities we serve. Whether it’s the new Miller Building, which will provide an improved healing environment for patients and families, our commitment to a unified electronic health record to increase coordination of care across UVM Health Network organizations, or our support for staff professional development by providing tuition assistance – all of these efforts, along with competitive wages for our employees, help us accomplish our mission.WagesThe UVM Medical Center has proposed a fair and competitive wage increase of 13% over the three-year contract, with significant increases beyond that for nurses in certain roles. The union has requested a 24% wage increase over the same period. In order to move these talks to a fair resolution, the UVM Medical Center has: · Nearly doubled our wage offer from our initial proposal.· Agreed to wage parity between our inpatient and outpatient nurses starting in September 2018, rather than phasing it in over three years as we had originally proposed.· Agreed to certain changes in staffing requested by the union. For example, to provide clinical and operational support for nursing units, charge nurses will no longer have patients assigned to them for direct care.Specifics on the UVM Medical Center’s proposal:· RNs: Our proposal would add more than $10,000 to the average annual nurse salary by the end of the three-year contract, bringing it to $84,000. The union’s proposal would result in an average annual salary of $92,000. · APRNs: To recruit Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), we have proposed increasing their wages by 6% to 25% over three years. · Outpatient RNs: For outpatient nurses, we have proposed their wages be increased to the same level as inpatient nurses in September 2018, which, when added to the wage increases we have proposed, would result in an additional 10% to 26% over three years. · Benefits: All nurses also receive a competitive and comprehensive benefits package that equals more than 30% of base pay. CVPH wage parity There are many elements to nurse compensation, such as base salary, shift differentials and career ladder progression. Because of this, it is difficult to make apples-to-apples comparisons of pay programs between hospitals, even within the same hospital network. For example, applying CVPH’s pay practices at the UVM Medical Center would result in more than a third of our nurses earning less than they do now. Both CVPH and the UVM Medical Center compensate employees based on their specific markets and the recruitment and retention challenges faced by each hospital. $15 minimum wageThe UVM Medical Center committed to having a wage floor in 2006 and has increased it over time. Currently, we are on a path to reach a $15 minimum wage in 2020.Compensation The UVM Medical Center compensates all of its employees based on market analyses. We think this is a fair approach, which allows us to meet our goal of attracting and retaining talented employees at all levels.Staffing We are always working to recruit and hire more staff – both nursing and support staff:Since October 2016, we have hired more than 754 nurses and support staff.More than 300 are nurses.More than 120 of these positions are new.Turnover and vacancy ratesAs of July 9, 2018, the UVM Medical Center has 103 open RN positions and 7 LPN positions. Since March, we have hired 98 nurses, including 35 from outside of Vermont.Our inpatient nursing vacancy rate is comparable to similar organizations (6.9% UVM Medical Center/7.2% at similar organizations). Our average time-to-fill vacant positions is 51.59 days, compared to 61 days for the industry average. Our vacancy rate for outpatient nurses is 14.4% – higher than the vacancy rate at like organizations, with an average time-to-fill vacant positions of 95.91 days. We believe increasing outpatient nursing salaries to the same level as inpatient nursing salaries reflects the increasing complexity of what they do and will help us improve these numbers.Our nursing turnover rate is in line with other academic medical centers across the country: 14.01% for outpatient nurses and 13.03% for inpatient nurses, compared to 13.10% at similar organizations.In response to a question from VBM about total nurse payroll and the impact on the two wage packages each side has publicly proposed, UVMMC spokesman Michael Carrese told VBM: “Our annualized payroll number at the moment is $115,283,563. This is for RN and LPN.”Total cost over 3 years for us is $18M, total cost for union proposal is $44M. As you know we think we have a fair and competitive offer on the table. To put their proposal in perspective, it is more than our entire margin projected for FY 19 – which is $39 million.”RELATED STORY: UVM Medical Center, nurses go back to negotiating tableSources: UVMMC. VFNHP.
Unbeaten Victory Valley Royals will battle Retrieve Raiders in the final of the 2019 Linden Amateur Basketball Association [LABA]/Youth Basketball Guyana [YBG] Inter Club Championships tonight from 19:30hrs, following semi-final wins on Saturday at the Mackenzie Sports Club Hard-court. Royals dismissed Kings 78-43 in their semi-final clash. Immanuel LaRose led the rout with 33 points while the duo of Shemar Henry and Kobe Tappin chipped in with 13 and 12 points respectively. For the Kings, T. Thom top scored with eight points.In the second semi-final, Raiders bested Amelia’s Ward Jets 57-50. Kareem Roberts recorded 19 points in the win with teammates Stephan Duncan and Joshua Grannum adding 12 points each. For the Jets, Leon Benjamin tallied 19 points while Gavius George and Jennis Benjamin supported with 14 and 13 points each. The losing semi-finalists will contest the third place playoff at 18:30hrs.