Management stated that Jackson currently has no money in its budget for cost of living adjustments (COLA) or step increases, but we pointed out that they didn’t take into account a potential $7 million in additional funds that will be generated from our union’s hospital efficiencies and/or contract concessions negotiated in the current contract.
Today’s bargaining session is part of a provision in our contract that allows us to revisit the issue of adjustments to employee COLA and step increases. At the start of the session, management’s chief negotiator Bob Norton said Jackson was in no way able to afford pay increases. Management also said it has done no salary comparisons to find out how much Jackson employees have fallen behind competing hospitals in regards to pay.
“We are barely keeping our heads above water,” Norton said. “I know people desperately need increases, but they also need a facility to come to work. We are not in a financial position to do increases.”
Chief Negotiator Martha Baker, RN, pointed out that $7 million of the $15 million Jackson will get from either the efficiencies the union identifies or other contract concessions was not accounted for in the budget approved by the Financial Recovery Board. She said any further discussions in regards to employee pay must take into account these funds.
“We do believe this money is not accounted for in the budget,” Baker said. “I think a lot of this discussion should involve the millions of dollars of efficiencies we’ve already identified.”
Bargaining discussions will continue on this subject and we will update you on future sessions.