BY DIANE S. WILLIAMS
In an ongoing fight to protect jobs and benefits, the union settled a group grievance to convert nine per diem, hourly and part-time workers at the Susan B. McKinney long-term care facility in Brooklyn to permanent, full-time positions.
“These members were hired as part timers but management assigned extra hours and full time work schedules from day one without full time benefits or the opportunity to become full time NYC Health+Hospital employees,” said Local 420 President Carmen Charles, who represents the eight Patient Care Technicians and one Housekeeper the union filed the group claim for.
“To add insult to injury,” Charles said, “McKinney management would hire new people off the street as full-time employees, without considering these workers who were already on staff.”
“Many of the workers felt they were overlooked because the nursing director would deliberately reduce their work hours as they approached the 18-month employment mark to make them ineligibility for conversion,” said Courtney Fenton, DC 37 Hospitals and Healthcare Professionals grievance rep. “This led to low morale and a few members expressed mistrust of the union.”
The union followed up and that director was removed. Fenton said, “After we cleared that hurdle, we made the case to convert the nine at McKinney to full time H+H employees.”
Local 420 members at McKinney care for the most vulnerable New Yorkers who need long-term care during a protracted illness or after surgery. Fenton said, “Some patients have dementia and other mental health issues and they are aggressive and combative at times.”
DC 37 Associate General Counsel Steve Sykes handled the grievance at arbitration. Although H+H argued that per diems could only accrue vacation time and sick leave at part time rates, Sykes insisted those benefits be accrued based on hours worked.
As part of the settlement, McKinney management agreed to place the nine to back fill full time job openings. PCT and Housekeeper titles are noncompetitive.
The union is taking further steps to correct this injustice by organizing and filing grievances to protect workers’ rights.
“An upcoming arbitration could lead to back pay on past due vacation and sick time,” said Mark Heron, assistant director of Research and Negotiations.
Charles said, “The union is working to make sure H+H offers full employment and benefits to everyone it assigns full time work schedules.”