Throughout the Michigan Medicine and UMPNC negotiations beginning in January 2018, routine updates will be posted about discussion topics and bargaining activities.
Update posted 10/12/2018
On October 10, the UMPNC membership voted to ratify a three-year contract with Michigan Medicine. The competitive employment agreement includes guidelines for staffing that continue Michigan Medicine’s commitment to excellent patient care, while allowing for flexibility to meet patient needs.
Other contract highlights include:
- Salary raises of 3 to 4 percent, representing an increase from the past four years when those increases were about 1 percent.
- Increased funding for tuition reimbursement and professional development that will ensure maintenance of nursing Magnet status, the highest honor in nursing granted to about 6 percent of U.S. hospitals
- Maintenance of current health insurance and retirement benefits
- Changes to eliminate payroll system inaccuracies
- Reductions in mandatory overtime
- Paid maternal/parental leave program that includes six weeks of paid leave for physiological recovery from birth of a child and six weeks of paid parental leave to employees after a birth, adoption or foster care and guardianship, which matches benefits recently granted to non-union university employees
The two bargaining teams will continue to work together over the coming years to implement the new contract.
Update posted 10/1/2018
The Michigan Medicine and UMPNC bargaining teams have reached a final tentative agreement for nurses. UMPNC will present this tentative agreement to their membership for a ratification vote in the coming week, with voting to conclude on Oct. 10.
Read more on the Michigan Medicine website
Update posted 9/18/2018
Last week, UMPNC held membership meetings in an effort to reach a strike authorization vote. On Monday, September 17, UMPNC notified their membership that they voted to authorize a strike. With this authorization, UMPNC bylaws require the union to give health system leadership 10 calendar days’ notification of their strike date, which is rumored to continue for up to three days. Because it is illegal for public employees to strike, if and when a notice of a strike is received, the Michigan Medicine legal team will pursue all legal remedies available.
Additionally, the organization has been developing contingency plans in the event of a strike. If notified of a strike, units will immediately begin implementing plans to reduce patient volumes and onboard temporary nursing staff. Each clinical area has developed an individual plan to maintain continuity of care. All employees are expected to come to work as usual.
Below are additional FAQs around maintaining patient safety and care if nurses do not report to work:
- What does a strike authorization vote mean?
- UMPNC asked its members to vote on if they would support a strike. A majority (51% or above of voting members) voted to support a strike, which now gives UMPNC the ability to organize and call for a strike in the future. UMPNC must give Michigan Medicine leadership 10 calendar days’ notice of the strike date.
- What will happen if the union gives notification of a strike?
- After receiving notification of a strike, our legal team will immediately pursue all legal remedies available.
- If there is a strike, will the health system continue operations?
- The health system will continue operations, but once notified of a strike, we will actively reduce patient cases and reschedule patients as needed. Each unit will have a plan to maintain patient safety and high quality care even with reduced or temporary nursing staff.
- Will we hire temporary replacement nurses in the event of a strike?
- Yes, we have contracted with multiple labor agencies to hire and onboard temporary nursing staff if a strike occurs. However, we know we will have a limited number of temporary nursing staff and they may not have expertise in highly specialized areas.
- If there is a strike, should I come to work?
- Even if nurses participated in the authorization vote, they can choose not to participate in a strike and maintain normal work hours. All employees are expected to report to work as usual.
- How will security be handled during a strike, particularly for employees coming to work?
- Michigan Medicine leadership is working closely with Security and U-M Police to provide additional safeguards for employees crossing the picket line to come to work. Security presence will be increased at building and parking garage employee entrance locations, and surveillance cameras will be closely monitored throughout the strike duration.
Update posted 9/14/18
The bargaining teams continued mediation on September 12. UMPNC had indicated the prior week that they would provide a counterproposal at this bargaining session, but they did not bring one to mediation. By midday, UMPNC provided a stand-alone counterproposal on parental paid leave, which could be interpreted as expanding leave to 12 weeks of paid leave for either parent, regardless of whether time is needed for physical recovery. The Michigan Medicine bargaining team originally proposed the paid parental leave as part of a package with other important unresolved issues, and expressed to UMPNC its intention to keep it as such, rather than as a separate stand-alone issue.
Meanwhile, the fact finding process continues. The state sent a fact finding panel on September 11, and Michigan Medicine has 10 days to select a fact finder from the panel. The next mediation session is scheduled for September 24.
This week UMPNC is conducting membership meetings September 10-16 to vote on strike authorization.
Read additional FAQs about negotiations and a potential strike
Update posted 9/7/2018
The Michigan Medicine and UMPNC bargaining teams continued mediation on Wednesday, September 5. In an effort to encourage forward progress, the Michigan Medicine team provided a revised package proposal to UMPNC. The updated package included the benefit of paid parental leave that was offered by the University to all faculty and non-bargained for staff on Sept. 4. Because Michigan Medicine values the nursing community and believes this benefit to be highly competitive for recruiting and retaining excellent nurses, Michigan Medicine’s bargaining team believed it was important to include the newly instituted parental leave in these negotiations moving forward. The paid parental leave benefit has been offered in addition to the already competitive compensation package offered to UMPNC. Highlights of this package include:
- 3-4% across the board pay increases over the next 3 years
- Increases in shift differential, weekend and on-call pay
- Limits on mandatory overtime
- Tuition reimbursement for Master level courses in BSN to DNP programs
- Increased professional development funding
Read more detailed information about the total package offered to UMPNC
The revised package proposal to UMPNC reflects only the mandatory subjects of bargaining. By law, certain topics are considered “permissive,” or non-mandatory subjects of bargaining. While bargaining teams may negotiate over non-mandatory subjects, neither team is required to bargain over these issues to impasse or insist non-mandatory subjects be included in the final agreement. If the teams are unable to reach agreement on non-mandatory issues, either one has the right to stop bargaining over these issues. Since the last several bargaining sessions, no progress has been made on non-mandatory topics and there is a need to focus on mandatory topics in order to reach a final agreement. The non-mandatory topics that will not be further negotiated include Victors Care, guarantees for advocacy of no legal prosecution in drug diversion cases, remaining neutral in discussions about union membership with nurses, the MOU on “Other Relevant Labor Markets,” and mandatory staffing ratios. The mandatory subjects, such as wages, retirement health insurance, parental leave, and the University’s staffing proposal, will continue to be negotiated.
On Sept. 5, UMPNC rejected the updated package proposal and left mediation without offering a counterproposal. UMPNC has indicated it plans to hold membership meetings between Sept. 10 - 16 to call for a strike authorization vote. Not only is a strike illegal for public employees, but such an action will put patients at risk and send a negative message to the community about patient safety.
Without an agreement, the fact-finding process will continue in an effort to conclude negotiations.
Update posted 8/24/2018
This week, mediation with the state mediator continued on Wednesday. In the prior mediation session, the Michigan Medicine team worked through the mediator to provide UMPNC with a proposal intended to address UMPNC’s concerns on how nurses are appointed to various committees within Nursing and across the institution. This week, mediation continued with efforts to resolve the issue involving appointments to these committees. Unfortunately, the bargaining teams were not able to resolve this issue. At Wednesday’s session, UMPNC offered a proposal that broadened the scope of the committee issue, going beyond their original position that appointments to committee seats designated for union nurses be made by UMPNC. The proposal also included parameters about UMPNC having involvement in developing committee charters and meeting agendas, two items which have not been previously discussed.
At the conclusion of Wednesday's mediation, Michigan Medicine bargaining team leaders expressed to UMPNC team leaders their concern over the lack of progress toward an agreement over the past mediation sessions, and their desire to proceed with the fact finding process that UMPNC initiated in late July. In the meantime, the bargaining teams plan to continue mediation on Sept. 12, the earliest date available based on the mediator's schedule.
Update posted 8/17/2018
This week the bargaining teams continued to work with the state mediator on Tuesday, returning to the topic of who is able to select nurses to serve on various institutional committees. The state mediator worked with each team individually to help them make progress on this issue.
During formal mediation, the bargaining teams have the ability to work through the mediator to exchange informal proposals in order to explore the potential to resolve issues without affecting their official bargaining position. At mediation on Tuesday, the Michigan Medicine bargaining team provided UMPNC an informal proposal through the mediator in an effort to explore ways to address the union’s concerns about appointment of nurses to committees. UMPNC did not agree with the informal proposal, and declined to provide an informal proposal with their suggested options to the Michigan Medicine bargaining team. Mediation will continue on August 22.
Update posted 8/10/2018
On August 9, nursing negotiations between Michigan Medicine and UMPNC continued with the assistance of the state mediator. In this week’s discussion, the bargaining teams returned to the topic of selection of nurses for the various nursing and institution-wide committees. The union and nursing leadership discussed the current process for selection and appointment to committees and alternative options that would meet each team’s interests in a fair manner. Negotiations will continue on August 14.
Update posted 7/27/2018
This week, the bargaining teams participated in mediation with the state mediator on Monday, with little progress on any of the outstanding issues. Because the bargaining teams have been regularly negotiating since January, they will take two weeks to assess their proposals and try to find a way to reach agreement. Mediation with the state mediator will resume on Aug. 9, and continue with less frequency than in prior months.
While there are significant issues yet to be resolved, Michigan Medicine and UMPNC have reached a tentative agreement on many important issues, which will take effect upon ratification of a final contract. Below is a detailed summary of the tentative agreements to date that will enhance the workplace experiences for nurses.
Michigan Medicine remains highly motivated to reach a final agreement. By law, across the board and step pay increases for nurses cannot be implemented until a new contract is ratified.
Resolved Issues (subject to ratification of a final agreement)--Additions or Modifications to Existing Contract Provisions:
- Framework and RSAM nurses: Professional development –increase to 2 days of release time per year; Increase professional development funding to $250/FTE
- Create central conference fund for nurses to attend conferences
- Increase annual professional development funds for CNS’s and APRN’s with minimum of 50% appointment fraction: CNS’s increased to $1500; NP’s and Midwives increased to $2000; CRNA’s increased to $2500
- National/Board Certifications: reimburse 75% cost of exam and subsequent re-certifications
Additions to Professional Framework Model and Role Specific Advancement Model:
- Creation of Level F (Framework) and Mastery + (RSAM) for nurses at the bedside who have earned a Master’s degree
- Level F and Mastery + levels each earn a $.50 per hour differential
Eliminate quarterly and annual shift bonuses and replace with increased shift differentials as follows:
- Evening shift differentials:
- Year 1: $2.35 per hour
- Year 2: $2.45 per hour
- Year 3: $2.55 per hour
- Night shift differentials
- Year 1: $3.20 per hour
- Year 2: $3.30 per hour
- Year 3: $3.40 per hour
- Flight nurse bonuses remain unchanged
- Eliminate weekend bonus and replace with $1.75/hr on all weekend hours worked (in addition to any applicable evening or night differential)
- Increased to $5.00 per hour for Framework and RSAM nurses
- Increased to $7.50 per hour for all APRN’s (excluding CRNA’s)
- Creation of specific definition for mandatory overtime related to unexpected circumstances; mandatory overtime is paid at 1.75x hourly rate
- Reduce individual limits (nurses cannot be required to work overtime after reaching his/her individual limit) as follows – (year 1) same individual limits for all areas; (year 2 and 3) 4-hour limit in a 4-week period; 4-hour on-call limit continues for ED employees
- Usage of mandatory OT or OA will be reviewed by the ACNO each scheduling period
- Eliminate OT Trigger and OT incentives; replace with the following OA/OT penalty system when unanticipated overtime exceeds 7.5% of unanticipated hours worked in three consecutive scheduling periods (an occurrence): first occurrence $100.00 per RN-FTE up to $7500 per unit; second consecutive occurrence and thereafter, $100 per RN-FTE up to $10,000 per unit. Penalty monies are to be used for educational, professional or patient care needs as voted upon by the Workload Review Committee
- Tuition reimbursement for Master’s level equivalent courses in BSN to DNP degree programs
- Create more flexibility in ability to donate PTO to qualifying nurses
- Contractual requirements designed to improve floating experience, including printed resource information for nurses who float on each unit
- Creation of mechanisms for providing feedback on floating experience on each unit in an effort to improve the experience
- Nurses will have access to 75% of PTO during the annual posting period (increase from 70%)
Assigned Time Off:
- New provision permitting nurses permitting a partial shift of on-call to be offered to nurses volunteering for ATO
- Designated float nurses will be permitted to float to their designated unit to maintain competencies prior to mandatory ATO
- CSR staff who float to two or more clusters will be the last to be mandated off on ATO
Health and Wellness:
- The teams will perform a joint needs assessment as to availability of health and wellness classes
- A more robust process for building awareness and addressing the harmful effects of chemical exposure in the workplace
- Requirements for informing nurses as to reasons for closing rooms for environmental reasons
- Continued review of use of glutaraldehyde and latex products and review of potential alternatives.
- Annual education on safe handling of antineoplastic drugs
- A robust mechanism for education on the prevention of sexual harassment and process for elevating concerns
Update posted 7/20/2018
This week the bargaining teams continued their efforts to reach final agreement with the assistance of the state mediator. The first issue discussed this week was the process by which to appoint nurses to the various committees across the institution, including those that relate to Nursing’s shared governance model and nursing practice. In these negotiations, Michigan Medicine has continued to follow certain guiding principles to ensure proposals for committee appointment of nurses include representative voices that reflect the diversity of the nursing community and engagement of nurses who are closest to the work.
Another primary issue discussed, but not resolved, this week was staffing. The Michigan Medicine bargaining team proposed specific contract language that supports maintenance of current staffing levels. This would include an evidence-based evaluation process to proactively address potential significant changes to staffing needs in the future, while frontline nurses continue to work through their workload review committees to address day-to-day workload issues. Michigan Medicine’s proposed evaluation process would include input from frontline nurses through the workload review committee, and subsequent review by nursing leadership and the Chief Nurse Executive. Michigan Medicine has a long-standing history of providing excellent staffing for nurses – a fact UMPNC acknowledges - because it supports excellent patient care. The bargaining teams will continue to negotiate over this very important issue.
On Tuesday, UMPNC notified Michigan Medicine that they filed a petition to begin the fact-finding process. During this process, both bargaining teams will have an opportunity to present their positions in a fact-finding hearing to a to a neutral third party fact-finder. While the bargaining teams are not obligated to accept the final recommendation from the fact-finder, they are obliged to negotiate over the fact finder’s report. It is anticipated that this process will be ongoing through the fall. In the meantime, the University will continue to negotiate with UMPNC to try to reach a final agreement.
Update posted 7/13/2018
After having negotiated January - June 30 without reaching a final agreement, the bargaining teams returned to the table on Monday, July 9. The Michigan Medicine bargaining team proactively initiated third-party mediation, as allowed in the negotiation process, to enlist assistance in ensuring that further negotiations would be productive. A state mediator joined the bargaining teams on July 10.
The significant issues related to compensation and benefits that are still under negotiations include:
- Across-the-board pay increases and market based salary adjustments. As of Wednesday, Michigan Medicine has offered the following across the board increases to the union:
Salary offer as of 7/13/18
||4% (with $750 on-time lump sum to nurses in step 13 and 14)
||3% (with $1,000 one-time lump sum to nurses in step 13 and 14)
||3% (with $1,000 one-time lump sum to nurses in step 13 and 14)
||3% (with alternative of longevity lump sum or clinical ladder)
- Retirement contributions: 5% employee contribution and 10% U-M contribution (after first year) on base pay. Presently contributions are made at this rate on total pay, including overtime, etc. This proposed rate aligns with faculty retirement contributions.
- Health Insurance co-pays:
- Prescriptions: generic tier I - $10.00; brand tier II - $20.00; non-preferred tier III - $45.00
- Office visits: $0 – preventative; $25 – injury or illness; $30.00 – specialists; $100 – emergency room (waived if admitted). These co-pays align with those paid by all other employees at the University of Michigan.
There is no open proposal for any reduction in PTO or any other paid leave.
Other important issues have yet to be resolved. Further negotiations, with the ongoing commitment to patient safety and quality care, will continue with the assistance of the state mediator throughout July in an effort to reach a final agreement.
UMPNC has publicized that they will hold an informational picket on July 14 that will not impact patient care. An informational picket is permitted by law, not considered a walk-out, and Michigan Medicine respects the right of the union to hold this event.
The bargaining teams will continue to work with the state mediator and negotiations will resume on Monday, July 16.
Update posted 7/2/2018
Since January, the Michigan Medicine and UMPNC bargaining teams have been diligently negotiating a successor contract for nurses to replace the current contract. During this time, Michigan Medicine’s bargaining team has strived to uphold the principles of an interest-based bargaining process, and has worked hard to problem solve with the union to reach reasonable and beneficial solutions that competitively value our nurses and are sustainable by the University. The University values and appreciates our nurses as vital to the organization, and believes it is important to recognize them accordingly. Currently, many Michigan Medicine nurses are near the 75% percentile when compared to national compensation/benefits packages, and the University supports maintaining this strong competitiveness to attract and retain the highest quality nurses.
Of the many issues raised as priorities for negotiation, a significant portion have been resolved. Some of the high priority issues that have been successfully negotiated include:
- Mechanisms aimed at eliminating mandatory overtime and additional compensation if mandatory overtime is worked
- Overtime limits to support safe patient care and work/life balance
- Creation of hourly differential to be paid on all weekend hours worked in place of the weekend bonus
- Merging annual/quarterly shift bonuses into the hourly shift differential and applying an additional increase in hourly shift premiums
- Reductions in payroll complexity to better ensure accurate pay for all nurses
- Increased funds for all bargaining unit members, including APRN’s, for professional development and support for national certifications
- A new level F with increased compensation for nurses at the bedside who earned a Master’s degree and higher
- Tuition reimbursement for Master’s level equivalent courses in BSN to DNP degree programs
- A more robust process for building awareness and addressing the harmful effects of chemical exposure in the workplace
- A broader mechanism for education on the prevention of sexual harassment and process for elevating concerns
These issues are not final until ratified as part of a final tentative agreement by the union membership.
Through this past weekend, the bargaining teams continued to work diligently toward reaching an agreement, but were unable to reach a tentative agreement. The University offered the union a compensation package proposal in as a starting point for encouraging further negotiations. The package proposal, when considered in combination with the terms outlined above that the bargaining teams have already agreed to, contained terms intended to reward, recruit, and retain our excellent nurses. This package included competitive across-the-board increases and market based adjustments to wages, retirement, as well as items important to nurse practitioners, such as designated administrative time, holiday pay and shift differentials.
Additionally, the University has committed to maintaining current staffing levels.
Without a tentative agreement at this time, the terms of the existing contract, except for pay increases, will continue until a final agreement is reached. Negotiations will continue in July under the guidance of a third-party state mediator.
At this time, UMPNC has also publicized a planned informational picket on July 14.
Update posted 6/29/2018
Over the past week, the bargaining teams have continued to work hard at negotiating over some of our most complicated issues that also have a significant impact on our nurses and our patients. These include nurse practitioner compensation issues and trying to compensate our nurse practitioners in a market-competitive fashion, while also seeking ways to reward nurse practitioners who seek to advance professionally. In this regard, the University proposed the concept of developing a clinical ladder in an effort to meet these interests for nurse practitioners.
Throughout negotiations, the UMPNC bargaining teams has communicated the importance of maintaining work-life balance for our nurses. In an effort to recognize and try to meet this interest, the University proposed a mechanism that could create a path for introduction of a paid parental leave benefit into the contract during the term of this next agreement.
As we approach June 30, the bargaining teams continue to work hard to problem-solve and find solutions that meet mutual interests on other complicated and important issues, which include staffing, compensation, and retirement contribution rates. The University has communicated its desire to complete negotiations by June 30 so there will be no disruptions in nurse step and across-the-board pay increases. However, UMPNC has publicly announced that they are planning an informational picket for July 14, which casts a question on whether they intend to complete negotiations by June 30.
The University plans to continue negotiations until an agreement is reached, and if an agreement cannot be reached by June 30, will seek additional assistance in its efforts to reach agreement through the state mediator. In the event the bargaining teams are unable to reach agreement by June 30, it is important for nurses to be reassured that the terms of their contract, with the exception of step increases, will continue until the bargaining teams reach final agreement. By law, the University cannot pay step increases or retroactive pay increases for nurses if negotiations have not been completed by June 30, so the University will continue to work diligently to complete negotiations as soon as possible.
Update posted 6/21/2018
This week the bargaining teams came to a tentative agreement on the issue of exposure to hazardous chemicals. The agreement will reflect the appropriate means to inform nurses of hazardous chemicals and support their ability to report exposures. It will also provide direction for the existing Nursing Health and Safety Council to raise safety concerns and collaborate with others in the institution to address these issues. As with all issues, once the bargaining teams a reach tentative agreement, final agreement is subject to a ratification vote at the conclusion of negotiations.
Progress was made on the topics of mandatory vaccinations and drug testing, but additional discussions are needed to reach consensus. Progress was also made with regards to MiChart and identifying ways to support nurses to reduce the burden of charting.
As June 30 approaches, the University remains committed to additional bargaining time, including evenings and weekends, as needed to complete the negotiations before month-end. The timing is of significant importance to the University so there are no disruptions to nurses in step increases and other pay increases, which by law are suspended without a ratified contract. UMPNC has declined the offer to negotiate during evening and weekend hours this week, which may impact the group’s ability to deliver a final agreement for ratification by June 30.
Update posted 6/15/18
This week the bargaining teams continued discussing drug testing, an important part of our efforts to ensure safe patient care and identify employees suffering from substance abuse as early as possible. Early identification of substance use disorders is critical to the success of rehabilitative efforts. A representative from Pharmacy attended negotiations to discuss the importance of responsible handling of controlled substances, as well as accountability associated with this work. A representative from the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience (formerly EAP) also joined the group to discuss the importance of rehabilitation and their role in supporting rehabilitation efforts. Ensuring patient and employee safety remains the primary concern and negotiations over this issue will continue.
UMPNC also brought forward their interest in increasing union representation to ensure greater access to the union. While it is important to the University to support the administration of the UMPNC contract and timely resolution of issues that may arise, this interest must be considered in the context of fiscal responsibility and how to leverage existing resources to optimize nurses’ access to the union.
The bargaining teams also discussed nursing representation on the various committees that exist throughout the health system. The University recognizes the value of having nursing voices represented on a the various unit and hospital-based committees where nurses presently serve. Negotiations will continue this discussion in the future.
The bargaining teams also revisited issues associated with payroll complexity and mandatory overtime. These issues are intertwined because the rules created to protect nurses from burdensome overtime, particularly mandatory overtime hours, have created complexity in our payroll system that makes it nearly impossible to automate and best ensure accuracy in the payroll process. The University is committed to continued dialogue with the Union to problem solve this very challenging issue, with a focus on protecting nurses from mandatory overtime hours.
Since the start of contract negotiations on January 22, 2018, the University and UMPNC bargaining teams have worked diligently to negotiate very complicated and important issues in the UMPNC contract. Because the University is committed to the problem solving needed to address these issues, it has participated in 60 full day bargaining sessions (including interest-based bargaining training) and 10 additional preparation days since the beginning of negotiations. The University and UMPNC share a mutual goal of reaching agreement before June 30, and will negotiate Monday through Friday moving forward, and add additional time on weekends or evenings if needed to achieve completing the negotiations before month end.
Update posted 6/8/18
Substance abuse and drug testing
This week’s negotiations began with a discussion about drug testing, a topic important to the safety of all of our employees and patients. The teams recognized that health care providers may be susceptible to substance abuse and that early intervention provides the best chances for recovery. In this context, the teams discussed ways to identify employees struggling with substance abuse and provide rehabilitation options consistent with Michigan’s Health Professional Recovery Program. For-cause drug testing, based on reasonable suspicion of impairment, plays a role in early identification of substance abuse and the bargaining teams discussed ways to continue this testing in a respectful, confidential manner. The University also introduced the concept of random drug testing. Further negotiations on drug testing, which is a complex issue, will continue next week.
UMPNC introduced the topic of how to best ensure safety for nurses after chemical exposure. Safety of all employees in the workplace is important to the University. The teams brainstormed ways to raise awareness of chemicals in nurse work areas and create a streamlined process to report symptoms experienced when environment cleaning products are used. While the teams generated additional options that would improve awareness and process for nurses, the issue is not yet resolved.
The teams continued to negotiate over issues related to payroll complexity and brainstorm ways to simplify and automate the payroll system.
The teams will revisit issues specific to nurse practitioners, including how their pay rate is determined. The University continues its interest in maintaining strong market competitive pay for nurse practitioners.
Update posted 6/1/18
Charting, pay differentials and flu vaccine
This week the bargaining teams revisited the issue of the time spent on charting relative to the time and ability to care for patients. As this is an important issue to Michigan Medicine nurses, committees currently exist as part of a shared governance model where nurses participate in addressing the concerns about charting requirements. The University believes these existing committees are the best approach and venue to engage nurses in this discussion.
The teams agreed upon behaviors that would elevate nursing practice to form the basis for an additional differential for those who continue to work at the bedside and have earned Master degrees. The differential rate for these nurses will be negotiated in the near future.
The week’s discussion continued with mandatory immunizations, including the flu vaccine, which has had high vaccination rates among nurses over the past two years. The teams had an in-depth discussion about balancing employee choice and employee/patient safety relative to the flu.
Update posted 5/25/18
Orientation and visiting nurses
The bargaining teams began this week discussing orientation for new nurses joining Michigan Medicine. UMPNC discussed their interest in having visibility with new nurses to orient them to the union. This remains an open issue requiring further discussion.
The second topic of the week was Michigan Visiting Nurses, who provide home care skilled nursing and rehabilitation services. The issues discussed included workload, visits per day, maintaining safety in the home care environment, and competitiveness relative to other home care agencies. The bargaining teams had lengthy discussion over the current state for our home health nurses and opportunities to continue to address concerns. The University’s bargaining team identified for the union mechanisms already contained in the contract that can be utilized to address ongoing concerns.
Update posted 5/18/18
Support for Nurse Practitioners
This week the bargaining teams focused on issues relevant to Nurse Practitioners. The University maintains a strong interest being able to recruit and retain excellent NP’s; compensating them in a competitive, market-based fashion; and supporting their ability to practice to their full scope. The negotiations focused on specific provisions in the contract that apply to NPs but differ for other nurses, including holidays and shift differentials, evaluations by individuals best equipped make them, workload, pay rates that appropriately reflect experience levels, and maintaining market competitiveness and rewarding strong performers. While there was robust discussion and some progress in these areas, dialogue will continue related the compensation of NPs.
Update posted 5/10/18
Focus on Staffing, Health and Wellness
This week, the bargaining teams continued to focus attention on safe staffing. Maintaining staffing levels that ensures the safest patient care is a high priority for both bargaining teams. During this week’s bargaining sessions, the University emphasized its commitment to maintaining a model where nurses at the bedside play an important role in the decisions as to staffing that supports safe patient care. While the Union acknowledged that the University maintains good nursing staffing levels, the bargaining teams continued to negotiate and generated options intended to enhance mechanisms already contained in the contract that address decisions for safe staffing.
The bargaining teams also addressed ways that the parties can work together to support nurses’ access to health and wellness resources at the University and heard the Union’s concerns about access to parking.
The bargaining teams devoted four full days to bargaining this week and a meeting in separate caucuses to prepare for future bargaining sessions. Because it is important to the University to reach agreement before June 30 to ensure that all nurses receive step increases and any other negotiated wage increases without delay, the bargaining teams will convene for four full days next week to continue negotiations.
Update posted 5/4/2018
Progress on sexual harassment and other additional data points
This week the bargaining teams returned to the topic of sexual harassment and the importance of maintaining a safe environment for all of our employees. Discussions on this issue have generated productive negotiations over building awareness of employee rights, raising education and awareness of sexual harassment, generating awareness of the process to file complaints, and creating support mechanisms for nurses throughout the entire process of escalating concerns. The bargaining teams worked together to explore the creation of a steering committee under the nursing contract that will be specifically charged with addressing the matters listed above, in collaboration with campus resources. They will continue the collaborative work to finalize the details of how this sexual harassment steering committee will function.
Staffing was also revisited for a very brief discussion. Historically, Michigan Medicine has staffed in the 75 percentile to ensure high-quality patient care. Further discussions will occur about ways to continue safe staffing that maintains our high standards of care.
Several nurse practitioners also visited the bargaining teams to provide perspective on their work experiences, and how their workload impacts their work hours and life balance. Our nurse practitioners play an important role in the delivery of care to our patients, and have specific and unique issues related to their experiences when compared to their other nurse colleagues covered by our nursing contract. Therefore, it was important for the bargaining teams to hear first-hand from the nurse practitioners about their experiences in order to address their specific issues in future contract negotiations.
Finally, the University Benefits Office presented information showing how Michigan Medicine retirement savings benefits compare to other local and national peer institutions. This benchmarking study, consisting of 11 local and national peers, is performed annually. The study shows that the University offers a highly competitive benefits package, with the Michigan Medicine retirement savings plan rating 36 percent above the peer average in total value, and ranking in the top three of the 11 peer institutions. The value and competitiveness of the compensation and benefit plans offered to employees will be an important consideration in these negotiations as the bargaining teams continue to explore ways to invest in employees in order to attract and retain excellent nurses, while maintaining long-term sustainability in compensation and benefits plans.
Update posted 4/27/18
This week’s negotiations began with a discussion on retirement savings. Currently, the University offers a highly competitive retirement savings plan for nurses and all employees, and remains committed to exploring ways to support long term sustainability of our retirement savings plans. Any potential changes to the retirement savings plan will continue to be negotiated as part of the broader total compensation and benefits package.
The topic of sexual harassment was revisited, with a focus on fleshing out the details to select options both bargaining teams brought forth previously. These details support increasing nurses’ ability to recognize sexual harassment, utilize existing resources to file complaints, and identify retaliatory responses. The bargaining teams will continue to discuss some additional options raised this week, which will be considered in the context of campus-wide resources and policies to address sexual harassment.
A third topic broached this week was tuition reimbursement and the implications of the 2025 requirement for a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) for nurse practitioners. Currently, Michigan Medicine and university policies reimburse for education up to the Masters level only. Additional discussions will need to address tuition reimbursement for doctorate degrees for the specific jobs that will require this level of education to practice.
Updated posted 4/20/18
Problem solving: overtime and payroll complexity
This week, the bargaining teams continued brainstorming ideas that could help monitor and control mandatory overtime with the goal of simplifying many pay rules contained in the contract. They also negotiated over shift differentials and weekend bonuses with the goal of paying competitive rates and encouraging nurses to work off-shifts and weekends. Presently, the contract pay rules determine when the University will pay increased overtime rates because a unit has reached its trigger limit or when a nurse has reached his/her individual overtime limit, and are complicated to interpret and cannot be automated in our payroll process. While the overall goal is to work towards a more automated payroll process, the University is also committed to ensuring that nurses are not exposed to burdensome overtime hours and are able to maintain work-life balance while also ensuring safe patient care. Further discussions will continue in future negotiation sessions to refine a comprehensive compensation package that addresses overtime triggers, individual overtime limits, wages, and shift differentials for hours worked on off-shifts and weekends.
Update posted 4/13/18
This week’s negotiations focused on compensation, which impacts Michigan Medicine’s ability to retain excellent nurses and remain competitive in recruiting nurses from local, regional, and for some sub-specialties, national markets. There was general consensus to continue with step increases in compensation in the future, and the bargaining teams began discussions about the amount of specific “across the board” percentage increases. Additionally, the University presented the Union with options for increasing the new graduate rate to help improve market competitiveness and support recruitment of nurses. Negotiations over increases will continue and agreements on compensation increases will also be influenced by the outcome of further discussions on other bargaining issues that have financial impact.
Dave Spahlinger, UMHS President, and Paul Castillo, Chief Financial Officer, attended negotiations on Wednesday to discuss the health system’s clinical network strategy and financial position. The clinical network strategy reflects the desire to improve patient access to care, to serve patients across the state and become the preferred provider for high-acuity care. This strategy will also create future job growth in the health system. While the health system’s current financial position is positive, it is not adequate to fund the desired future investments in both people and new and existing facilities needed to improve patient access to care. In order to grow, which benefits both patients and employees, the organization needs to identify additional ways to fund the investments that will enable its strategic priorities.
Update posted 4/6/18
Fine-tuning the details
This week the bargaining teams continued to refine details about various approaches to managing staffing for variable activity. Staffing for variable activity presents challenges for nurses and unit directors alike, and it is important for the University to reduce situations where nurses are sent home during low census while other nurses face overtime hours and limitations on using their PTO. It is also important to us to alleviate anxiety over working on another unit for nurses who float and to build and maintain a support system for these nurses. As a result, the bargaining teams took additional time to discuss the details associated with managing staffing for variable activity, as they impact our nurses’ ability to maintain work-life balance and our ability to provide the safest patient care. Continued work is ongoing to reach an agreement on these terms.
The teams also discussed attendance and refining the process for handling unscheduled absences and problem solving meetings between nurses and managers designed to address the root cause of potential attendance problems. The goal of this discussion was to allow access to union representation that will enable the problem solving meetings to occur in a timely fashion, as well as find ways to provide nurses with greater flexibility in the event of unforeseen challenges to attendance, such as personal illness.
Negotiations around payroll and its complexity also continued this week. This topic included various approaches to simplify and standardize compensation practices for mandatory overtime, off-shift and weekend pay to enable automation of a payroll system and support accurate payroll. As both bargaining teams continue to address work/life balance for nurses and the importance of having staff available to support safe patient care, they also discussed the Role Specific Advancement Model (RSAM) nurses and finding ways to permit flexible work hours when their specific roles call for them to fulfill their roles outside of their normal shift hours.
Because the teams are committed to concluding negotiations before contract expiration, they agreed to further increase bargaining days to 4 days/week for two weeks in April. This time is incremental to the three days per week already scheduled in April. The groups also agreed to increase bargaining time to 5 days per week in June if needed, and discuss any schedule adjustments needed in May after ongoing assessments.
Update posted 3/30/18
Further discussions on staffing
Discussions continued this week on potential ways to address staffing for variable activity, which is a critical component for maintaining quality and safe patient care. Several different approaches are under consideration to increase our ability to deploy nurses to specific units based on patient needs, without mandatory floating.
Other issues related to staffing were also discussed, including nurses’ access to use of paid time off, attendance management and use of central staffing resources. Identifying ways to improve how we staff for variable activity will help address all of these issues raised this week. Further discussions on these topics are anticipated to continue next week.
Update posted 3/23/18
Staffing to optimize safety and quality
This week, the bargaining teams spent the majority of time discussing staffing for variable activity, an important subject in past negotiations. The ability to safely staff for fluctuations in high and low patient census poses challenges and frustrations for nurses and managers alike. Recognizing an important opportunity to partner to do ground-breaking work together in this area, negotiations this week included a literature review of the pros and cons of floating and measures that can be taken to improve the experience for our nurses. The bargaining teams also identified other contract provisions, aside from floating, that could increase opportunities to staff for variable activity. Staffing to address these patient fluctuations is critical to maintaining quality care, and the bargaining teams discussed many broad concepts intended to increase opportunities to deploy nurses to units where staffing is needed and to alleviate their anxiety around patient safety in these situations. Because of the importance and complexity of these issues, staffing discussions will continue next week.
The bargaining teams also discussed issues related to UMPNC’s representation of nurses, including compliance with the current law on dues collections, and communication venues available for the union to access and inform its membership.
Update posted 3/16/18
Roadmap to agreement, investments in people
This week, the bargaining teams agreed to establish a negotiation “roadmap,” setting a schedule for negotiating all issues and directing attention to items that are most important to both Michigan Medicine and UMPNC as soon as possible. The roadmap will also serve to monitor progress to meet the parties’ mutual goal of concluding negotiations prior to the June 30 contract expiration date.
The bargaining teams also reached a tentative agreement on Michigan Medicine’s commitment to invest in its people through professional development and certifications. Professional development funds presently available to nurses will be increased. Partial reimbursements for national certifications will also be available upon certification completion and renewal, which serves to elevate nursing practice across the institution.
The MiTime team provided an informational presentation outlining the current payroll state and challenges in moving to an automated payroll system. Complex pay rules that currently exist in the nursing contract present barriers to payroll automation. This is an important issue that will be discussed in the near future.
Update posted 3/9/18
Commitment for additional bargaining time
This week’s negotiations began with a discussion of the results of an external peer review survey to benchmark pay, pay practices and benefits. A total of 11 local, regional and national health care organizations responded to the survey that was jointly created by Michigan Medicine and UMPNC. Survey results indicate that Michigan Medicine is competitive with the survey respondents in overall compensation and benefits. The primary area of opportunity is the automation and flexibility of scheduling that would help eliminate the need for mandatory overtime.
The negotiation topics this week included attendance management and the use of incremental PTO once the bidding process for PTO is complete. The bargaining teams did not reach resolution on either topic, so both will be addressed at a later date.
To ensure time for meaningful negotiations on all issues while supporting our commitment to reaching a ratified agreement by June 30, the bargaining teams agreed to increase negotiations to three days per week (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday), and reserve every other Thursday for individual team preparation and meeting time. This updated schedule will begin Mar. 12.
Update posted 3/2/18
Ensuring safe return to work practices
This week the bargaining teams are finalizing a tentative agreement on an approach to ensure safety to practice for nurses returning from long-term disability. The teams agreed to convene a joint work group to develop the process for individual case assessments of abilities, skills, competencies, and additional needs that will enable nurses to be successful in the current clinical setting after a lengthy disability-related leave of absence. The tentative agreement will also provide nurses with access to funding within a specific time period of a long-term disability leave to maintain the certifications needed to practice.
In addition, to ensure clarity on contract terms, the teams agreed to language to clearly define the phrase “emergency reduction in operations” as distinguished from a “closure.” These specific definitions provide clear direction on actions to be taken under the contract and help prevent misunderstandings or incorrect application of contract terms.
Update posted 2/23/18
Potential additional level in the Framework
One of the primary topics in the bargaining sessions this week was the Professional Development Framework and Role Specific Advancement Model (RSAM), compensation models with evidence-based behaviors as the criteria for advancement. Because Michigan Medicine strives to recognize and reward nurses for excellence in patient care at the bedside, the Framework and RSAM are important topics worthy of robust discussion. Much of the discussion focused on the potential addition of a new level within the Framework and RSAM which would recognize the clinical behaviors and advanced degrees that elevate nursing practice. The criteria to achieve this level was not finalized, and more discussion will occur at a later time.
As a follow-up to the previous discussion on sexual harassment, representatives from Office of Clinical Affairs (OCA), Faculty Development, and Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) provided an overview of their process to intake, investigate and manage complaints of sexual harassment. They also discussed how each group remains connected throughout the process to follow each particular case as appropriate. Additional discussions on this topic will also occur in the future.
Update posted 2/16/18
Concerns about sexual harassment
This week’s bargaining sessions focused on topics that are important to all of us to maintain a safe environment for our patients and employees: sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviors in the workplace, concerns of retaliation and the process for raising concerns. The bargaining teams discussed their specific concerns, and potential options that would discourage inappropriate interactions between employees. Examples of some options discussed include training to recognize inappropriate behaviors, raising awareness of nurses’ rights and how to raise concerns, mechanisms to keep nurses informed about the status of their complaints, and developing victim advocacy and resource groups within nursing. Representatives from OIE, Human Resources, and the Employee Assistance Program attended some of Monday’s session to discuss the University’s current policies to address harassment. The Office of Clinical Affairs and Faculty Affairs will also be invited to participate in next week’s session to discuss their process for handling complaints of sexual harassment. Because this is a very important topic that warrants focused time and attention, the bargaining teams will continue to discuss outstanding issues at a future time during negotiations.
Update posted 2/9/18
Initial negotiation issues
This week’s bargaining sessions began with discussions about how the bargaining teams would frame their issues in terms of specificity and detail in order to best facilitate the interest-based problem solving process. After exchanging bargaining issues, the discussion focused on which issues to negotiate first. The first issue to be discussed next week will be how nurses can effectively raise concerns of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behaviors. The bargaining teams will also discuss nurses with Masters, PhD, and Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees in conjunction with changes to the model of care in the Professional Development Framework. The Professional Development Framework provides employees whose primary role is in direct patient care with an opportunity to advance within a compensation model based on evidence that they have met behaviors contained in the domains of nursing practice. For these two topics, the bargaining teams have agreed to invite subject matter experts to share with the group their insights on process and other considerations that may inform negotiations.
Update posted 2/2/18
Ground rules set and issues identified
In this week’s negotiation sessions, the bargaining groups finalized the ground rules and meeting protocols that will guide the discussions throughout the bargaining process. They also began the process of exchanging issues to be discussed in the coming months, and clarified the specific concerns under each issue. Identifying the focal points for each issue provides the framing for future problem solving discussions.
Update posted 1/26/18
Interest-based training kicks off nursing negotiations
The two negotiation teams kicked off the process by participating in interest-based bargaining training over the course of three days. The primary tenet of interest-based bargaining is to share issues, identify similar interests and negotiate a mutually beneficial outcome. During this training, the group discussed ground rules for engagement and agreed upon the negotiation process. To facilitate this discussion, the group also used teambuilding activities and bargaining exercises to build a better understanding of effective interest-based negotiation processes and skills. The group also discussed and agreed upon ground rules for engagement throughout the negotiation process.