Genesys, union still at odds, strike on hold

— Teamsters Local 332 promised to hold off on a strike until Sept. 24 as the union and Genesys Regional Medical Center have agreed to resume negotiations over the disputed technical bargaining unit contract.

A 30-minute phone call between Teamsters President Nina Bugbee and Genesys CEO Mark Taylor Sept. 3 resulted in a mutual agreement to return to the bargaining table for the first time since Genesys issued their “last, best and final” offer June 24.

“The leadership team and I welcome this opportunity, and assure you of our commitment to bargain over the next few weeks with the mutual intent of concluding negotiations,” Taylor said in a letter to Bugbee.

Instead of an agreement to resume negotiations, many were expecting Bugbee to issue a 10-day strike notice Sept. 3 after nearly 80 percent of the 246 technical workers that voted rejected Genesys’ contract offer Aug. 29.

The contract offer proposed by Genesys included maintaining current wages, providing technical employees a 2 percent a year increase over the next four years, switching from a defined benefit pension plan to a defined contribution pension plan, continued retiree healthcare coverage with no changes, continued healthcare plan coverage with “nominal increases” in employee premium contributions over the next four years, give current licensed practical nurses changes in pay and title and offer severance packages to emergency transport services employees.

After the vote, Bugbee informed the union she was “preparing the troops for battle” if Genesys continues to refuse to bargain. However in a last-ditch effort to avert the strike, Bugbee contacted Taylor to request a return to the bargaining table.

With talks between the two resuming Sept. 7, Genesys agreed to hold off on further implementation to their unilateral “last, best and final” offer until Sept. 24 provided that the union will not issue a strike notice between now and then.

The Teamsters and the Union met in Troy Tuesday after the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) out of Washington D.C. recommended the meeting take place at their offices.

Talks of a negotiation continued in Troy on Wednesday, but according to Bugbee not much has changed between the two sides.

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