Mediation is the Likely Next Step for Kansas University Hospital Labor Dispute
Wednesday, November, 13, 2013
Kansas University Hospital will likely be heading to mediation with leaders of the KU Nurses’ Association representing the hospital’s nurses over failed negotiations concerning labor contracts and pay raises. The hospital’s administration has contacted the Kansas Public Employee Relations Board to advise them of an impasse in negotiations with the nurses’ union, and those involved speculate that labor mediation is the logical next step.
According to Kansas University Hospital’s administration, a pay raise of 2 percent was offered to the nurses who worked there, although premium pay for less desirable shifts was removed from the negotiating table. According to a spokesperson for the hospital, Jill Chadwick, working with the union is what is making it so difficult for an agreement to be reached. “The American Federation of Teachers, AFT, they’re getting involved at a national level and they’re giving their support and I think that they have a little bit of a different approach,” said Chadwick.
There is, however, no fear of a nurse strike, since such a move is prohibited by Kansas state law. Therefore, if mediation is not successful, the hospital will have to consider arbitration as its next move. According to the hospital’s administration, they have been fair in their compromise, but the president of the nurses’ union, Emily Harvey, negates this assertion. According to Harvey, the contract terms that the hospital is proposing would only drive away the qualified nurses currently employed at the hospital. "We just have to stand together,” she said.
For labor mediation, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service will be chosen to help resolve the on-going dispute. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service was the same company used in the state to resolve the 1977 Kansas City Missouri Teachers Union strike.