SEIU members working at Meharry Medical College in Nashville.
Local 205 recently stopped Meharry from cutting vacation accrual without bargaining with the union.
To avoid possible layoffs or deeper cuts, the union committee agreed to a one-year reduction. In exchange, Meharry agreed to no budget-related layoffs and committed to continue providing three additional personal paid days at the holidays. Meharry also agreed to continue contractual step raises and to not propose any pay cuts in wage negotiations that happen in November.
“With the support of our fellow members we were able to negotiate an agreement that protected jobs,” says Cory Cole, an electrician and union steward. “I cannot stress enough the importance of our union. They help give us a voice, and make our working environment a better and safer one.”
Bi-lingual employees have long been used as interpreters at Meharry but were not being properly compensated for their skills. Union action resulted in a monthly pay increase of $100 and an education program that gave workers the opportunity for free classes and another pay raise upon completion of certification.
SEIU aggressively advocated for a market analysis of dental assistants and a comparison to Meharry staff. As a result, all bargaining unit employees were given a significant increase.
SEIU Local 205 members at Meharry Medical College in Nashville voted unanimously to support a new four-year contract.
The new contract gives each employee two step increases in January and then guarantees eligible employees a step every year on the date of their hire.
A whole new wage “grid” was added, increasing all jobs from 15 steps to 25. A point system related to attendance was added, as was an employee sick bank. There were improvements in seniority and job bidding and there is an agreement for the company and the union to meet each November to discuss COLA (cost of living) raises.
Quality was an important topic during negotiations and as a result, the company has re-activated the Safety Committee. Also, employees who are bi-lingual will be compensated with a three-step increase. Moving forward, there are plans to negotiate a new policy book. The college will also begin providing the Union with data on new hires, as is the case in many other chapters.
“This is one of the best contracts we’ve negotiated at Meharry in years, and it wouldn’t have been possible without a strong Bargaining Committee and a new leadership team at the College who are committed to improving quality and service,” says Benny Goolsby, Local 205’s Senior Staff Representative.
The bargaining team was made up of Jeff Fenton, Greg Spencer, Francis Garcia, Joyce Buchanan, and Desiree Roby.
An employee at Meharry Medical College in Nashville was laid off when his job was contracted out. The Union filed a grievance and negotiated a settlement that has him back on the job with no lost pay.
Outsourcing, along with other issues, will be part of the union’s agenda in contract negotiations with Meharry, which are ongoing into 2012.