Essentia Health recognizes the USW Local 9460 Main Unit “Greenbook” as the union representing more than 1,000 employees in the East market. Essentia Health values the contributions of each of our valued colleagues, including those represented by the USW Main Unit in Duluth and Superior. These colleagues bring a diverse and important skillset as we all work to make a healthy difference in the lives of those who entrust us with their care. Please visit this website regularly for updates on the negotiations.

Bargaining Update 6/26/24

Dates: June 25 & 26, 2024
Bargaining sessions: 9 & 10

This week, Essentia Health met at the bargaining table with the USW negotiating committee to continue working toward a mutually acceptable contract agreement for the USW Main Unit “Greenbook.” The discussions focused on the issues of wages and staffing flexibility; while progress was made on the matter of wages, discussion on the topic of operational flexibility stalled. We emphasized that to serve our patients, it is very important that we find ways for our valued colleagues to be assigned work based on where and when help is most needed.

We believe that continuing to provide sustainable, high-quality care for our patients is a shared goal between Essentia and our colleagues represented by USW. We hope this shared goal will enable us to reach a mutually beneficial agreement in future negotiations. Additional bargaining dates were set for July 24 and 25.

Highlights of the discussion:

  • The Union presented two package proposals that included its wage demands and requests for job audits. They withdrew three items.
  • Essentia provided a counter package proposal that included its wage proposal and flexible staffing language.
  • Essentia reasserted its new language addressing flexible staffing assignments within the unit based on workload, work priorities, and patient needs.
  • Essentia reasserted the clarified contract language regarding Low Need procedures.
  • The Union requested that job audits be completed for several classifications and requested reclassifications and pay increases for a number of employees in patient scheduler and patient access roles.
  • The Union sought a 3-year contract with across-the-board wage increases totaling 9.5% plus estimated step increases of 2.39% for a total increase of 11.89%, and Essentia counteroffered with contractual across-the-board increases over 3 years totaling 6.6% plus estimated step increases of 2.39% for a total increase of 8.99%.
  • The Union rejected Essentia’s proposed flexible staffing language and cross-facility cooperation language.

Upcoming bargaining sessions: July 24 and 25, 2024

 

Bargaining Update 6/20/24

Date: June 20, 2024
Bargaining sessions: 6,7 and 8

There were three days of bargaining between Essentia Health and the USW this week, June 18-20, as we work toward a contract agreement for the United Steelworkers Main Unit “Greenbook.” The parties are hopeful of reaching a mutually acceptable agreement as negotiations have been narrowed to the issues of wages and staffing flexibility.

Highlights of the discussion:

  • The Union provided four economic counter-proposals, which contained six items; they also maintained their previous position on one non-economic proposal.
  • Essentia Health provided seven counter-proposals to the Union’s economic package, withdrew one proposal, and held on two proposals.
  • Essentia introduced language memorializing flexible staffing assignments within the unit based on workload, work priorities, and patient needs.
  • Essentia clarified contract language regarding Low Need procedures.
  • The Union maintained its position on PTO longevity bonuses; increased evening/night shift differentials and expanded application to urgent care staff; and COLA increases.
  • The Union requested that job audits be completed for the following classifications: Registration/Schedulers; Coders; Billers; Clinical Assistants; Radiology Assistants.
  • The Union demanded Experience Assessments and commensurate pay for all phlebotomists who obtain medical lab assistant requirements.
  • The Union moved from a 4-year contract with across the board increases to a 3-year contract with across-the-board wage increases each year of the contract.
  • Essentia made a counter proposal on a 3-year contract with across-the-board wage increases each year of the contract. In addition, Essentia proposed a one-time lump sum payment at the time of ratification for employees with 40+ years of experience.

Tentative agreements reached:

  • Weekend Day Shift Differential
  • Unscheduled Shift Bonus
  • PTO & Sick/Vacation Conversion dates
  • Sick/Vacation Sellback provision

Upcoming bargaining sessions: June 25 and 26, 2024

We look forward to meeting at the table again next week to continue bargaining in good faith. Thank you to our colleagues who share their talents to provide sustainable, high-quality care for our patients.

 

Bargaining Update 5/30/24

Date: May 30, 2024

Bargaining session: 5

On May 30, 2024, the USW and Essentia Health met for the fifth negotiation session to make progress toward a mutually acceptable contract agreement for the USW Main Unit “Greenbook.” The parties continue to have constructive conversation on both old as well as new issues which include economic proposals. As is expected during negotiations, both parties have expressed reservations over certain proposals of the other but are looking for areas of commonality. We are committed to reaching an agreement that provides good jobs for our colleagues, while also making it possible for us to continue providing excellent care for our patients during an increasingly challenging time for health care.

Highlights of the discussions:

  • The Union provided its first set of economics proposals, which included nine items, and Essentia provided seven counter-proposals to the Union’s economic package.
  • On non-economic points, the Union held their position on two proposals, while Essentia withdrew one proposal and held on two proposals.
  • Essentia addressed its prioritization of float capabilities within the unit, restating that in order to care for our patients, it is important to flex our valued staff resources based on need and priority. 
  • Essentia proposed modification of current PTO and Sick Leave/Vacation language.
  • The Union sought increased pension contributions, PTO longevity bonuses, 2 additional holidays, increased evening/night/weekend shift differentials, increased and compounded unscheduled shift bonuses and COLA increases.
  • The Union sought a 4-year contract with across-the-board wage increases each year of the contract, plus a longevity bonus for 20+ years of service to be paid annually on each anniversary. In addition, they proposed combining the two current wage grids into one grid that contained a grid place for every year between start and 20 years.
  • Essentia Health deferred discussion of wage rates until the next session.

Tentative agreements reached:

  • New Hire Formula

Upcoming bargaining sessions: June 18, 19, 20 and 25, 26, 2024

We look forward to continuing the negotiations in June, and thank all our colleagues for their ongoing commitment to making a healthy difference in the lives of all we are privileged to serve.

 

Bargaining Update 5/8/24

Session dates: May 7-8
Bargaining sessions: 3 and 4

Essentia Health and the United Steelworkers Main Unit “Greenbook” continued negotiations with two sessions on May 7 and May 8, 2024. The conversations were thoughtful and productive. Essentia appreciates the Union’s willingness to listen to our proposals and to consider the benefits of our proposals for their members, as well as the positive impact the proposals have on our ability to continue providing quality care for the patients who depend on us.

Highlights of the discussions:

Tuesday, May 7:

  • Essentia’s bargaining team provided three counter-proposals, one new proposal, and held on three proposals. The Union provided two counter-proposals.
  • Essentia introduced a proposal on cross-facility cooperation. We emphasized that to serve our patients, it’s important to find ways to maximize the organization’s resources and increase flexibility in the assignment of staff based on need and priority. Essentia provided clarification about its position over the process of reducing hours based on need and the reallocation of staff resources to calibrate staffing levels.

Wednesday, May 8:

  • Essentia provided two counter-proposals, withdrew one proposal, and held on three proposals. The Union provided two counter-proposals, withdrew one proposal, and held on one proposal.
  • Discussion continued on the topics covered on Tuesday, with Essentia addressing its definition of inter-departmental staff exchanges and clarifying its position on the process of using alternative work assignments instead of reducing hours.
  • The parties deferred discussion of economic proposals until the next session scheduled for May 30.

Several tentative agreements were reached during our May 7-8 sessions:

  • Vision Insurance
  • Leave of Absence
  • Health Programs
  • Overtime Distribution – HUC Clusters

Upcoming bargaining sessions: May 30, June 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 2024

Thank you for reading the bargaining update, and we will continue to share information as negotiations progress.

 

Bargaining Update 4/18/24

Session date: April 16 & 17, 2024
Bargaining sessions: 1 and 2

Essentia Health and the United Steelworkers Main Unit “Greenbook” (USW Main) began negotiations with two productive sessions on April 16 and 17, 2024. The parties approached the meetings positively with both parties hoping to reach a mutually acceptable contract agreement as soon as possible. The current collective bargaining agreement expires June 30, 2024.

Highlights of the discussions:

  • The Union shared the priorities of their members, including discussing the effect of the Welcome Project on PARS; effect of Medical Lab Assistant career pathing on phlebotomists; and floating of clinical assistants across the Twin Ports.
  • Essentia thanked the Union for its transparency and made it clear that the colleagues represented by the USW Main unit are valued by our organization. We are eager to reach an agreement that continues to provide good jobs with competitive pay and benefits, provides quality and compassionate care for our patients, and promotes stewardship for our organization.
  • The Union presented their initial non-economic proposals (10 total).
  • Essentia presented its initial non-economic proposals (13 total).
  • Both parties exchanged responses and counterproposals on Day 1 (3 additional proposals by the Essentia).
  • Essentia provided 6 counterproposals on Day 2.
  • The Union provided 4 counterproposals, held on 2 proposals and rejected 1 proposal on Day 2.

A number of tentative agreements were reached over the following areas:

  • Overtime Distribution
  • Grievance Procedure
  • Absence for Union Activities
  • Discipline & Termination
  • Attendance Policy
  • Continuing Education
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Job Descriptions
  • Time Off for Medical Appointment
  • Union Security – Orientation

Upcoming bargaining sessions: May 7, 8, and 30, June 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 2024

In the coming weeks, we will bargain in good faith and work toward a mutually beneficial agreement that continues to recognize the important contributions of our colleagues while ensuring our ability to provide sustainable, high-quality care for our patients.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the bargaining process and what it means for USW Main Unit (Greenbook) and Essentia Health.

The current agreement covers more than 1,000 employees across the East market.

Essentia Health and the USW have entered into discussions ahead of the expiration of the current agreement on June 30, 2024.

Our USW Main Unit agreement expires on June 30, 2024.

Essentia Health has a history of reaching successful agreements with the USW and we are committed to reaching a similar outcome with employees represented by the USW’s Main Unit contract.

We also remain committed to providing seamless, high-quality care to our patients and their families while we work through the bargaining process.

Essentia Health is committed to working through a range of issues of interest to both parties in a deliberate way through the usual process of bargaining in good faith. This site will post any significant developments in negotiations.

Yes, we will continue to provide appropriate updates on the process during bargaining.

Still Have a Question?

For additional information or relevant questions not addressed here, email the Essentia Health team at [email protected].