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CMC and Nurses Union reach agreement on first-time labor contract

05.11.08

May 2008 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

CMC and Nurses Union reach agreement on first-time labor contract

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

SCRANTON, May 1st- Registered Nurses (RN’s) represented by the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP), which is affiliated with the California Nurses Association (CNA), voted to approve a first-time labor agreement with the Scranton Community Medical Center (CMC).

According to the union, the approximately 410 bargaining unit nurses will receive sizable pay and pension increases. Of the membership that voting on the contract, approximately eighty-two percent voted for the agreement. The contract will expire on December 8th, 2010.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four conducted a secret ballot Representation Election at the medical center on July 19th, 2007. The RN’s voted 209 to 117 to be represented by PASNAP.

The union also represents nurses employed at the Wyoming Valley Health Care System Medical Center on River Street in Wilkes-Barre.

Contract negotiations between officials of the union and the medical center began in September, 2007.
Bill Cruice, PASNAP’s executive director and chief contract negotiator, stated in the April edition of the newspaper, achieving a first-time contract between the parties was slowed because of the “stall tactics” of the CMC labor attorney and chief negotiator Robert Ufberg. Mr. Cruice told the newspaper his negotiating committee was frustrated with Mr. Ufberg’s negotiating tactics that included cancelling meetings.

Mr. Ufberg disagrees with Mr. Cruice’s opinion regarding how long it took before the parties reached an agreement.

“We had to negotiate more than ninety pages. The first meeting was held in September. We just talked at that meeting about the ground-rules. To negotiate a first-time contract in just seven months is incredibly quick,” said Mr. Ufberg.

Mr. Ufberg added that a hospital contract is extremely complex and takes many hours to negotiate. “I bet if you talk to other unions that represent hospital employees, and asked them what would be normal for reaching a first-time contract, you would find out we did great.”

The union held several events to inform the public contract negotiations were moving slower than they would like.

The public campaign included sponsoring advertisements on billboards throughout Lackawanna County and holding a labor rally at Nay Aug Park in Scranton.

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