In a unanimous vote, The University of Toledo Board of Trustees approved Oct. 11 a new contract with members of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Ohio Council 8, AFSCME Local 2415.
AFSCME members, who represent about 2,000 workers at UT Medical Center, approved the deal, 794-78, Oct. 8.
The new three-year contract calls for a lump sum payment for the period from July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010; a 2 percent increase starting in November 2010 through June 30, 2011; and a 3 percent increase the following year that includes lump sum performance bonuses tied directly to increases in patient satisfaction scores.
UT negotiated higher employee contributions for health-care premiums and eliminated a vacation/sick time cash-out policy, all of which resulted in a total of an additional $2.7 million in costs during the remaining 21 months of the contract.
Despite the vote, several trustees expressed trepidation that the state’s anticipated budget deficit for fiscal year 2012 and new requirements due to the nation’s new health-care law would strain the University’s resources in the months and years ahead.
“In no way is this an expression of dissatisfaction with the negotiating process or the outstanding commitment to the highest quality health care that our employees provide,” said C. William Fall, chair of UT’s Board of Trustees. “The concern is as we look forward at budgetary uncertainties and align our contractual commitments with the diminished resources we expect to have in the future.”
UT President Lloyd Jacobs said he was pleased by the board’s vote to approve the contract.
“It is so important that these employees know the great value we place on them and the great value patients and their families place on their service,” Jacobs said. “These are the men and women that set the bar for health-care quality in this community.
“It is absolutely true that UT will be facing daunting financial challenges in the coming fiscal year, and I think the payoff from this agreement will be a work force dedicated to do all they can to provide excellent care and support for patients,” he said.
“The University of Toledo Medical Center is a national leader in so many health-care metrics expressly because of the outstanding work of our employees,” said Dr. Jeffrey P. Gold, chancellor, executive vice president for biosciences and health affairs, and dean of the College of Medicine. “UTMC holds a unique position in the community as the only work force represented by a collective bargaining unit, and that strength and excellence is the reason for UTMC’s high national standing.”