State Newsletter – October 2019

State Newsletter October 2019State of Ohio – Union Chapter News

Landmark Arbitration Decision on Movement of Staff. A Psychiatric/DD Nurse at ODRC who works in the outpatient unit filed a grievance after she was pulled to work in the RTU over a less senior Psych/DD Nurse. Management argued that it had the right to reassign the nurses to various units within the department without considering seniority because the entire department was one work area. The Union argued that each unit made up a separate work area, and in order to pull someone from one unit to another, the manager had to first ask for volunteers, and if no one volunteered, seniority should be recognized. Arbitrator Goldberg agreed with the Union and sustained the grievance.

Educational Development Fund Update. On July 1st, the Educational Development Fund for members of SEIU District 1199 renewed with an additional balance of $750,000 available for reimbursement. As of September 14th, 33% of the budget had been expended and $521,618 remained. This fund was negotiated as a part of the contract and allows reimbursement for approved training and educational expenses. In 2018, members negotiated a substantial increase in funding for the Educational Development Fund as a part of the current contract due to the fact that in previous years the fund had been depleted far in advance of the July 1st renewal date.

OPERS Proposes Cuts for Future State Workers and Retirees. It was recently reported publicly last that OPERS is considering a range of changes and potential cuts. New public employees who start employment after January 1, 2022, would need to reach 62 and have 35 years of service to receive full pension benefits. The OPERS Board of Trustees has also voted to freeze cost of living adjustments (COLA) in 2022 and 2023. Additionally, the OPERS Board of Trustees is considering changes to retiree healthcare benefits. We understand the concerns of retirees and state workers and are evaluating these proposed changes. 

State Members Reach Successful Outcome Over Scheduling Changes. Three nurses with the Ohio Department of Youth Services believed their schedules were being changed to avoid the payment of overtime. A nurse filed a grievance on behalf of himself and two co-workers. The state has ceased the scheduling practice that led to the initial grievance. The three members were awarded 8 hours of compensatory time each.

Adult Parole Authority Member Awarded Job Transfer. A member with the Adult Parole Authority learned that a position in another county had been posted but an internal canvass had not been conducted. The member worked with their delegate to file a grievance and was quickly awarded the position that should have been filled through an internal canvass.

State Nurse Acts to Protect Safety and Quality Care. A member with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services was mandated to work overtime but had already worked two double shifts in the previous two days. The member believed that this was hazardous both as a worker and for the clients in their care. The member filed a grievance with the assistance of their delegate on the basis that being mandated to work this overtime was a violation of an agency-specific agreement and a negotiated cap on consecutive overtime. In a settlement, the agency agreed to follow agency-specific language which had previously set the overtime cap.

State Nurse Returns To Work With Full Back Pay After Arbitration Ruling. A nurse who had been terminated by the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction in 2017 was cleared by an arbitrator to return to work. The member was accused of failing to document food intake in an electronic system. However, an independent review had substantiated concerns about arbitrary data loss in that same system. The employer was also unable to show just cause in the termination of the member, who had worked for ODRC since 2006. The arbitrator ruled that the member should be “made whole” and that there was no evidence of “alleged violations of policy.”

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