Will I get paid?
Yes. You will be paid your regular hourly wage for the specific hours of home care work that you lose while at the bargaining table, for preparation/planning meetings, and transportation. For example, if you were scheduled to work for your client for four hours on a bargaining day, and you couldn’t work because of bargaining meetings or travel time to a bargaining location, you would be paid for the four (4) hours of scheduled work that you missed. If you work an additional job(s), you will be paid your regular hourly wage for the specific hours of work for that job(s) that you lose for bargaining purposes.
You will NOT be paid for other volunteer activities to build the union (doorknocking for candidates, for example). When requesting time off, it is necessary to request “time off without pay” as to not reduce your PTO balance.
Will meals be provided?
Yes. Meals will be provided. We will try to accommodate special dietary needs, but we encourage you to bring your own food for your special dietary needs.
What about my client and home care duties?
It is your responsibility to request time off as soon as you are aware of any bargaining dates or bargaining-related travel during the times you will be at the negotiating table. Your employer is required to work with you to schedule appropriate coverage. If you have another job, it will be your responsibility to work with that employer and/or find coverage for dates associated with bargaining.
How long does it take to bargain a union contract?
It is hard to predict how long it takes to bargain a contract from beginning to end. A session will usually go for four to eight hours. Agency contracts generally require 4-6 months to negotiate. After each session, we will work as a team to communicate to other caregivers about progress.
What will we be bargaining for?
In addition to winning higher wages, we will fight to increase other benefits – maintaining our healthcare, training and retirement. We will also consider incentives, like differentials for weekends or nurse delegation, for example. Other priorities will include those identified by member surveys and your input – strengthening language that protects our union members, including anti-harassment and anti-discrimination.
What do I do when we are at the table actually negotiating?
For the most part, you will be listening and taking notes. The art of bargaining is very precise and strategic. So, every word spoken at the table must be considered beforehand. That is why we have our own preparation meetings and “caucuses.” We meet separately from management (agency home care employers) and we develop our strategy for that particular session so everyone is on the same page; everyone knows who’s going to say what and when they are going to say it.
What kinds of strategies might we use to help us at the bargaining table?
Strategies may include giving the Bargaining Delegates assignments: to mobilize members, to reach out to community organizations, to attend union area gatherings, to make calls, to contact politicians, etc. It’s hard work, but it’s important and can be fun, too!