WHAT THE FIGHT IS ALL ABOUT: We voted to form a union one year ago. Our union was certified by the National Labor Relations Board on June 28, 2013. That gave us the legal right to negotiate the terms and conditions of our work at Unity Living Center. Right away, Unity management began to stall. Negotiations for a union contract did not begin until .
At that first meeting, we made a statement about what we wanted to see in the negotiations. The statement included: “When asked, many of the employees expressed concerns about respect, fair enforcement of rules, reasonable workloads, and especially short staffing.” We asked for recognition, representation, no discrimination, fair selection for transfer and promotion, just cause discipline, health and safety, and effective grievance and arbitration procedure.
Over these last nine months, we met with Unity management 21 times. Piece by piece, we got them to agree to much of what we wanted,
But four important issues are left unresolved:
Fair wage increases. Unity’s merit pay system is unfair. Some employees get raises while others get nothing. Unity says that pay is based on performance, but the fact is that whether a supervisor likes you or not has more to do with your pay than anything else. Unity wants to give only merit raises. We can not agree.
Day by day, clause by clause, we got Unity to agree to a contract that will protect our rights, give us job security, and a voice on the job. But while we were doing that, Unity was running out the clock. It left meetings early, canceled scheduled meeting dates, and delayed its responses to our proposals.
DON’T BE FOOLED. This is a serious fight. It is a fight for whether we go back to when management could do whatever it wanted, or whether we have rights: the right to speak out without fear of reprisal, the right to equal participation in decisions, the right to guaranteed pay and benefits in a binding contract. This is the time to unite and finish the job that we started. Watch out for management led tricks that would in reality cause you to sign away your rights and give up the fight.