Danbury and New Milford hospitals reach tentative agreement with union
Connecticut Health Care Associates has reached a tentative contract agreement with Danbury and New Milford hospitals, just over a year after welcoming the hospitals’ employees into the union.
“This is the furthest we’ve gotten in the process,” said Jason Riccio, the staff representative at CHCA and the lead negotiator.
The agreement was reached just days before a rally the union had staged for Saturday, in which they planned to demand a final contract and respect on the job. That rally, to be held at 1 p.m. in Broadview Middle School, will now become a celebration.
Workers at the hospitals voted to join the Connecticut Health Care Associates in September 2016. It was the workers’ fourth attempt to unionize in 10 years, Riccio said.
About 900 workers make up the Hospital Workers at Danbury and New Milford Hospitals unit, including environmental service workers, certified nursing assistants, patient care technicians and office workers.
The agreement reached Thursday still has to be ratified by union members. Riccio said they are hoping for a vote the week of Nov. 16. Once approved, he said the contract could go into effect later this month.
“This process was a true win-win for both sides of the negotiation table and we look forward to continuing the positive, good-faith working relationship between the union and Hospital Network created during these negotiations,” Riccio said.
Andrea Rynn, spokeswoman for the hospitals, said the parties “continued their collaborative relationship” throughout the process.
Under the tentative agreement, workers will earn a 1.75 percent raise in the first year, a 2 percent raise in the second year and a 2 percent raise in the third year. Ratification bonuses of $250 for full-time employees and $150 for part-time employees in both the first and third years are part of the deal.
The contract would offer opportunities for employees to participate on issues committees, like health and safety and labor disputes. Employees earned the rights to a grievance and arbitration process, Riccio said.
Another highlight of the bargaining unit is the employees’ right to just cause for discipline, he said.
“The employees felt very strongly about having just cause, which is defined as discipline based on reasonableness, fairness, honesty and good faith on behalf of the hospital,” Riccio said. “The hospital made the employees feel safe and appreciated with the admission of such a clause.”