NEW YORK NURSE: October 2009
Q.: What do you do if the employer comes up with a new policy or changes to an old policy or past practice mid-contract?
A.: When the employer comes up with a new policy or changes to an old policy or past practice, the union should give the employer a written demand to bargain. This is called mid-contract bargaining. Just filing a grievance does not constitute a demand for bargaining by the union.
Unilateral mid-contract bargaining changes by an employer must be negotiated with the union even if the change appears minor and reasonable because most issues have a significant impact on employees. While the union might not be able to strike during the middle of a contract, the union is in a position to rally the members and let the employer know that unilateral changes in terms and conditions of employment are not acceptable.
A written demand by the union tells the employer that no change can be made that hasn’t been bargained.
The NYSNA EGW Program receives many inquiries each month from members who have problems in their workplaces. If you have a question about labor relations at your facility, contact your NYSNA nursing representative. If you have a question you think should be featured in this column, send it to: RNs at Work, NYSNA, 120 Wall Street, 23rd Floor, New York, N.Y. 10005.