State of Ohio Chapter Update – Two Recent Union Arbitration Victories

Two issues directly affecting 1199 employees working in institutional settings were recently arbitrated, and you should know about the outcomes in case the practices that led to the grievances are happening at your work locations. If they are, use the linked-to arbitration awards to educate your management, and if that doesn’t work get with a delegate to file a grievance.

1. Nursing Duties: In case you missed it in the most recent newsletter, RNs at Chillicothe Correctional Institution filed a class action grievance because they had been hauling biohazard waste bags to the biohazard room in the medical basement. 1199 has very specific contract language protecting its nurses from doing exactly this sort of thing. Article 42.04 Nursing Duties states, “In order to provide the necessary time to perform properly the duties of their job classification, registered nurses will not routinely be asked to assume responsibilities outside their classification. Housekeeping duties, clerical duties, and other duties which can be and normally are performed by paraprofessional employees shall not be required of the registered nurse, other than in irregular or unusual circumstances.” Upper management at CCI was apparently unaware that 1199 nurses were taking out the biohazard waste. At the arbitration hearing they testified that the biohazard waste was a group effort and all members of the team were expected to help out by taking out the waste. 1199 won the arbitration. If you are an 1199 nurse, and you find yourself hauling the biohazard waste bags to a biohazard room because they get full and no one else takes them out, this violates your contractual rights. You should put your management on notice that you believe that you should not have to do it based on this decision. You can read the arbitration decision here

2. Pulling and Movement of Staff: Contract Article 24.17 states, “An employee may be pulled or moved to meet operational needs. The Agency shall designate the work area most able to provide the coverage. The qualified employee in the designated class having the greatest State seniority who desires to be pulled or moved shall be. If no employee volunteers to be pulled or moved, the qualified employee in the designated class with the least State seniority shall be pulled or moved first from the work area most able to provide the coverage as determined by management.”  A Psych/DD Nurse at ODRC who works in the Outpatient unit filed a grievance when she was pulled to work in the RTU over a less senior Psych/DD Nurse also working in the Outpatient unit. Management argued that it had the right to reassign the nurses to various units within the Mental Health Department without considering seniority because the entire Mental Health 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, the least senior employee on the unit would be sent. The grievance went to arbitration, the Union WON, and it was the first arbitration decision written on Article 24.17. So from this we learned that an institution cannot create giant “work areas” so that it can move staff anywhere within the work area without acknowledging seniority. We also learned that forcing someone who is not least senior due to work loads is not acceptable. The least senior employee must be moved every time (unless of course there are volunteers). You can read the arbitration decision here

In Solidarity,

Your Member Resource Center Team
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH

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