To the Editor,
Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center would like to provide clarity and additional information related to our ongoing negotiations with AMEA.
As stated in the article that ran in the Kodiak Daily Mirror Nov. 4, the contract between PKIMC and AMEA expired Feb. 16, and since then we have had negotiation/mediation sessions in February, April, June, August and most recently in October. None of these sessions have been successful in agreeing to a new contract. As a courtesy to the union and to our employees, we extended the contract after each failed attempt at coming to an agreement. We are no longer willing to continue to offer these extensions as the goal is to come to agreement on a new contract.
Providence’s offer to AMEA employees includes a robust paid-time-off plan. Employees would accrue paid-time off (PTO) hours each pay period, and these hours could be used for sick leave, vacation, to take care of a sick child, travel for medical appointments, or any other life circumstance where an employee needs to care for themselves or others. In addition, should an employee suffer an injury or illness that takes them out of work for an extended period, we are offering an employer-paid short-term disability feature in which employees can receive up to 65% of their pay for up to 25 weeks. We have also recently introduced a paid parental leave program in which both mothers and fathers who are employed with Providence can receive 65% of their pay for up to six weeks after the birth or adoption of a child. Both of these programs can be augmented with PTO to provide 100% of pay.
Providence has been a willing and committed participant in negotiations with AMEA. Over the last several proposals, we have offered a variety of enhancements, including guaranteed merit increases, market adjustments, ratification bonuses and an offer to convert a portion of existing non-vested sick-time hours into PTO hours for 2020. We previously offered a special bank of converted PTO hours that could be used for extended illnesses. None of these proposals has resulted in an agreement.
We would also like to note that the bargaining team has had the full support of the PKIMC leadership team, which includes myself as the administrator and chief executive officer. The ministry administrator does not traditionally sit at the bargaining table.
Providence is willing to go back to the negotiation table with AMEA when there is a realistic chance of an agreement. At this point, AMEA’s position has made that impossible.
Gina Bishop, RN, CEN, PhD, chief executive officer, Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center