January 2017 Newsletter Supplement: President's Corner (full version)

Share This

I hope everyone had a great holiday. Welcome 2017, may this year be better than the last!

I would like to give answers to the most asked questions I get on a weekly basis. Those questions are, “What is going on with our contract?” and “What's happening with SEBAC?”

Our UHP Contract with the Health Center has been extended for one year—through June 30, 2017, or until we are able to agree to a new contract agreement. This means we are still working with a contract. We've had some difficulty, as the Health Center has given us a certain number of proposals which they feel are top priority. We have a labor-management subcommittee looking at those. Once we have been able to come to an agreement there, we hope to bring our negotiations team back to the table. I will have more to report for the February newsletter.

If you pay attention to any news source you've seen reports on SEBAC, state employee contracts, budgetary shortfalls, cutting of services and political posturing. As I have been saying to any and all who will listen, “We need to be involved in the political process,” “We need to know who our state legislators are,” and “We need to start contacting our legislators.” We have been able to publish on our website and Facebook ways to find your individual legislators, and additional resources are forthcoming, including the AFL-CIO contact book will all phone numbers, addresses and email addresses, expected in February. We need to let these people know what we do as state employees. We take care of some of the sickest, most vulnerable people on this state. We provide these services, and we would like to have what was promised to us.

In 2009 and 2011 the State of Connecticut went to SEBAC leadership for concessions. There is talk of this happening again. While I do not have all the answers, I do believe in getting all the correct information out that I can. Therefore, I am very happy to announce AFT-CT President Jan Hochadel will be coming to UConn Health this month, date to be announced, to explain everything I cannot, and to answer the questions for which I do not have the answers readily available. We have booked Keller Auditorium for two meetings that day, one at noon and the other a 4 p.m. Please come out and meet Jan, we will have an exchange of ideas, and get correct information out and hopefully squash false rumors floating around.

Lastly I'd like to take the time to thank Ivonne Hamm, Chris DeFrancesco, and Carol Underwood. These three members joined me on a chilly December morning on an informational picket line in Hartford at Community Health Services(CHS). CHS is located in the poorest zip code in the state. They pay their Medical Assistants minimum wage, which up until Jan. 1 of this year was less than $10 an hour. Let that sink in for a minute: Less than $10 an hour... The Fight for 15 labor group was there as well. It was great seeing a group of UHP members standing up for others in the labor movement. This inspires me to put together a team of UHP members who would be interested in participating in labor actions, walking a picket line for a couple of hours, to be seen standing together, all of us, as one large labor movement. Together we are stronger than if we stand alone. If you have any interest in joining what I’ll call “UHP's Labor Strike Force,” please contact the union office or your rep. and we will get your name on the list and get information out to you.