Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gracedale AFSCME Contract Highlights

Yesterday, I told you that Gracedale union workers were being paid 2.5 times their regular pay for overtime. Several of you pointed out that I had it wrong, and I did. I've since learned that this rate was only being paid for overtime worked on holidays. So my report was misleading. I apologize to everyone I led astray.

Below you will Human Resources Director Pat Siemiontkowski's memo to Northampton County Council concerning this new contract. It details the union's concessions.

Highlights from Pat Siemiontkowski Regarding the Proposed AFSCME Contract

Attached please find the recently negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement between Northampton County, Pennsylvania and Council 13, District Council 88, Local 1435 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME Gracedale).

The County and AFSCME Negotiating Teams worked cooperatively over the pst several months to reach an agreement designed to realize cost savings over the next four years and to provide Premier with new tools that it is hoped can be used to improve the operation of Gracedale Nursing Home.

Terms of particular note in this proposed four year contract which was recently ratified by the union membership include the following:

1) 30 minute unpaid lunch period (the prior contract provided for a paid lunch period);

2) the ability of management to offer shifts of varying duration (the prior contract provided only for 8 hour shifts);

3) the elimination of the Presidents’ Day holiday;

4) the payment of double time to employees working on a holiday rather than double time and a half;

5) the ability for full-time employees to cash out a limited amount of vacation time each calendar year (this will save the County the cost of replacing the absent employee with another worked at the rate of time and a half);

6) the reduction of sick leave accrual from 96 hours a year to 60 hours a year;

7) the elimination of sick leave incentives;

8) the ability of management to designate the work period for purposes of paying overtime as either a 40 hour system or an eight and eighty system (previously all employees were on the eight and eighty system);

9) overtime savings resulting from the new 7 ½ hour work day, the 37 ½ hour work week and the 75 hour work period;

10) the conversion, through attrition, of all NA II positions to NA I positions;

11) a wage freeze in 2012 and 3% wage increases (COLAS) in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

12) increases in employee healthcare contributions for 2013, 2014 and 2015 as follows:

Employee Employee plus 1 Family
2012 1.50% 1.60% 1.75%
2013 2.25% 2.50% 2.75%
2014 3.0% 3.25% 3.50%
2015 3.75% 4.0% 4.25%

13) healthcare cost containment effective January 1, 2013 to include spousal coordination f benefits and the County’s ability to make changes to the 2014 health plan design based upon its projection of an increase in health care costs because of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

14) the inclusion of a successor clause in the contract.

The County projects the savings achieved to be approximately 2 to 2.5 million dollars annually. The Union believes the savings will be greater and will exceed 3 million dollars annually.

Upon your receipt of the attached contract, I am requesting that it be placed on the agenda and presented to the Personnel Committee and to County Council for review and approval at the August 15 and August 16 meetings, respectively.

Please distribute this e-mail and the attached contract to all members of County Council.  


Anonymous said...

Are you talking about the vote that was 8-1 in favor of suppprting

Anonymous said...


Mark Baker said...

it's about time that the greedy ,lazy,gracedale union leeches finally gave a little something back. They have been sucking the county dry for decades.

Anonymous said...

Your bed is waiting.

Anonymous said...

Who cares. The place is getting sold in four years. There will be no county run nursing homes in ten years.

Anonymous said...

So this union is treated differently than the regular county employee. They DO get step increases and Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLA) of an additional 3%. I'm sure this totals about 5 1/2% each year.

Non-union personnel had their COLAs stopped back in 1994. And, the non-union personnel were forced to accept a twenty step wage salary, after accepting positions that were originally only 8 steps. Now their steps are about 1 1/2% each year.

Originally, the non-union were told that they would make their highest salary after 8 steps, and this administration denied what was promised to them. Illegal if you ask me. I'm surprised nobody has sued yet. What's good for the goose, should be good for the gander.

Anonymous said...

There are no step increases.

Mark Baker said...

When John comes in he will straighten this all out - but be careful what you ask for

I worked, I got paid, and now I volunteer said...

When I worked at Gracedale in the 70's, 80's, and 90's, We had a scale that allowed us to start at a rate much lower than the average paid at other nursing homes and it took us five years to get to the top of our pay scale. Then a study was done that showed we were underpaid for years and our wages were increased to reflect those of the industry in the valley. Northampton County had a shortage of nurses as well as other workers at Gracedale and forced overtime was the mandate. Much of what we enjoyed as workers was given to us as employees to bring us up to the standard of pay for Nursing Homes in the Valley. The County was just to happy to pay us so they could have 100% staffing. They even gave us benefits like Paying for us to go to NCACC to get a degree in Nursing and paid for the college tuition. We didn't ask for it, they gave it of their own iniative. They paid us to take other courses and re-imbursed us for all our tuition expenses. We didn't ask for this, they gave it to us. They (the County) gave us premium pay for weekends. We didn't ask nor negotiate for this, they gave it to us so they could have full employment at Gracedale. They paid us bonuses to recruit others to work at Gracedale. Again they gave, we didn't ask. The list goes on and on. We didn't ask for three times the raises we got in the early nineties, what we got was three times what we asked for, the County gave that to us because we were so far behind others in the industry. We allowed the County to siphon millions from our pension fund to offset tax increases for the homeowners of the County. It's time for the jerks who read your blog and like nothing better than to lamblast Gracedale workers to begin debating the Gracedale issues with some knowledge and intelligently. For years we were underpaid and we gave of our time and our talents to serve those who were truly in need of our services. You (Bernie) should know better. We are dedicated individuals who did chores at Gracedale that many of you wouldn't ever consider doing. We didn't think cleaning human feces for those who were unable to take care of themselves was degrading. We looked after your parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and children when you weren't able to give them the care they needed, and we cared for them as if they were are very own. I am a dedicated and caring Gracedale volunteer today. Also saving you tens of thousands of dollars. How many of you can say the same?

Anonymous said...

To 7:07 AM

Bullshit. They get step increases and COLA.

Anonymous said...

While there were some concessions they really didn't concede much in terms of healthcare. If you assume the family plan costs the County, $15,000 a year, then in 2015 the employee is still only paying $53 a month for family coverage. With healthcare costs only going up I would have thought the County would have done a better job there.

Anonymous said...

If you don't like it, then get a job there. Then when you clean other folks shit, deal with the dementia, and see how some families just dump their loved ones there and never return you might see why getting what they earn matters.

Anonymous said...

They are overpaid vs. private sector and provide lousy care vs. private sector.

Game. Set. Match.

F off union leeches.

Anonymous said...

Gracedale employees + welfare recipients = SAME THING.

Great Nursing Home God said...

I recommend that all gracedale union goons be put on the fast track for sainthood.According to them there is no one quite as good and wonderful as they and they literally perform miracles every day

Anonymous said...

My flock of union zombies at the Gracedale public employee's home are not pleased with this contract. I should have been at the bargaining table offering my professional auditing skills to find ways to run Gracedale at a profit with NO union givebacks. But alas my flock wandered astray and now I must find some other cause for grandstand posturing.

Hasta la vista Goonies!

- Barron Von Footinmouth

Bernie O'Hare said...

Now he's found a new enemy - banks. I'll tell you about that at the witching hour.

Anonymous said...

The union successor clause is BS and union workers should wake up and realize that their own Union in this case is more worried about their dues than the workers and Gracedale. This clause is a true example of conflict of interest.

Anonymous said...

9:34 there is only a 3 % raise in 3 of the 4 years period with nothing this year. I helped craft this contract so i am aware of whats in it. every union worker there is giving up at least $ 2000 a year or more by going to a 37 1/2 work week.