There have been seven bargaining sessions since May, with the latest one taking place on August 1st. During those meetings, the UAPD Bargaining Team has given detailed presentations in support of the proposals that the Union has made. The team has been joined at the table by doctors from several departments, who gave additional input on the proposals concerning salary equity, professional judgment, and flexible schedules, among others.
Tentative agreements have been reached on a few new items, including language that extends the deadline for using accrued Personal Leave Program (PLP) days until June 2016. UAPD doctors who travel on state business will receive a $2 per meal increase in their per diem payments, as well as an increase in the state hotel rate. In addition, both sides have agreed to many small modifications to bring the contract up to date.
The next bargaining session will be on Friday August 9th, and UAPD members will be updated shortly thereafter.
What’s Still Being Negotiated
While the sessions have been productive, more than a dozen issues are still under discussion, including salary increases. Those issues include:
• Salaries — In addition to proposing across the board increases, UAPD wants to address equity problems that affect several classifications in our unit. The UAPD bargaining team is working to make sure all raises are as large as possible.
• CME Process — UAPD has proposed that the $1000 CME benefit be paid out to doctors at the start of each fiscal year (July 1) in order to eliminate the cumbersome reimbursement process.
• Flexible Work Hours — UAPD wants to strengthen existing contract language regarding 10-hour schedules. As it stands now, individual managers can and do rescind the 4-10 schedule for doctors, often with little reason. UAPD also proposed changes to our Leave language so that doctors on a 4-10 schedule will not be required to contribute 2 hours from their annual leave bank for every holiday, CME day, or PLP day they take. Flexible work hours are essential to recruiting and retaining doctors, especially in facilities located in remote areas.
• DSS Bonus Plan — UAPD has asked the State to reinstate the bonus plan for Medical Consultants working in the Department of Social Services (DSS). DSS suspended the program in 2011.
• On-call Volume and Compensation — Doctors at some facilities receive far too many calls. The compensation is not enough for the amount of work call now represents.
• Additional Appointments — Additional appointments came under attack this year when some State managers were accused of using them to pad their salaries. However, in the case of the doctors’ bargaining unit, additional appointments have proven to be a cost effective way to deal with the doctor shortage. UAPD has proposed changing the existing contract language on additional appointments so that it will supercede any new laws intended to limit the practice.
• Sign In and Sign Out — Some facilities require doctors to sign in when they arrive and sign out when they leave, claiming to do so for safety reasons. UAPD is trying to strengthen contract language to ensure that sign-in sheets cannot be used for timekeeping purposes, which would violate existing MOU language. The State has proposed deleting the language in our contract that prohibits timekeeping; UAPD has rejected that proposal.
• Board Certification Fees — UAPD has proposed that for any position requiring board certification, the certification fees will be paid by the State.
• Notice of Investigative Review — UAPD proposed that doctors be given notice any time they are placed under investigative review. UAPD is responding to the fact that some departments use an “investigative review” process that differs from the “investigations” that are currently covered in our contract. In negotiations and legislatively UAPD is trying to ensure all the protections doctors now have during investigations are extended to investigative review.
• Acting Assignments — UAPD proposed language to address the fact that some people assume acting supervisor appointments for long periods of time, ignoring the standard hiring, promotion, and interview process.
• Contracting Out — UAPD wants to memorialize in our contract the side letter that created the Contracting Out Committee (CoCo) in 2012. That committee, which includes both UAPD doctors and management, has begun to make progress in addressing the overuse of contractors in some facilities.