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CONTACT: TOM MOORE
8798 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 356-3945
e-mail: thomas-moore@uiowa.edu

Release: Jan. 23, 2001

SEIU and UI Hospitals and Clinics announce employment agreements

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics management team and Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 199, today jointly announced an agreement to create a weekend option pilot program for professional and scientific staff members who work in direct patient care. A second agreement will increase starting salaries for professional and scientific staff covered by the collective bargaining agreement in the departments of pathology, radiology and respiratory care.

The goal of the weekend option program, which will have a one-year trial period, is to fill critical vacancies and ensure maximum weekend coverage to provide optimal patient care and support staffing. It adds to a number of flexible scheduling arrangements which were already offered and will potentially improve recruitment and retention of staff.

The weekend option may hold particular appeal for parents of young children who want to share child care responsibilities, students who are only available to work weekends, and people living outside Iowa City who want to minimize their commuting time. Current staff members are also eligible to participate in the weekend option program. If the program is successful, current staff may also benefit by working fewer weekends. Staff in the program must agree to commit to stay in the program for at least six months. They will then work 24 hours over the weekend, in either two 12-hour shifts or three eight-hour shifts, and be paid for 36 hours.

The weekend option program is effective with the signing of the memorandum of understanding, and positions will be posted within the next few weeks. The program will be reviewed after its one-year pilot phase to determine if it should be retained, modified or terminated. Any changes to the current program will be negotiated with the union and provided to staff on the program with six weeks notice.

In recognition of the competitive labor market, starting salaries for professional and scientific staff covered by the collective bargaining agreement in the departments of pathology, radiology and respiratory care also will be increased under a separate agreement. If the adjustment causes salary compression with current staff, the salaries of those staff also will be adjusted.

Management staff and union leaders worked together on these initiatives in response to recruitment challenges in several job categories, including nursing, respiratory care, pathology and radiology. In addition to these programs, the two groups continue to work on other incentive programs to enhance recruitment and retention of staff.

For additional information or comments, call Diana Leventry, director of staff relations and development, UI Hospitals and Clinics, at (319) 356-2008 and Kim Miller, executive director of SEIU Local 199, at (319) 341-0112, cell phone (319) 430-8791 or at seiukim@aol.com.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.