Q&A from Holy Cross Caregivers

Over the past few weeks, we have heard from many caregivers that you have questions related to your employment, pay and benefits, and unions. It is our goal to be as transparent as possible in our communications with you to ensure you have the information you need to make an informed decision regarding whether or not to be represented by a union, and more importantly, to make sure that we are answering your questions about your employment. 

The simple answer is those relationships will change in significant ways. Holy Cross has a history of empowering its leaders to use their discretion for how they manage their departments.  Further, we encourage open and direct communication to address concerns and to resolve issues.

Usually, a union negotiates a seniority-based approval system where the rules are applied in the same way to all individuals and departments, regardless of circumstances.

With a union, your leader will lose some of their ability to use their own discretion and flexibility because they are bound by the contract. 

Additionally, you will lose the ability to deal directly with your supervisor to resolve issues that may arise about the terms and conditions of your employment because the union becomes your exclusive representative to speak on your behalf about these things.

Here are a couple of examples:

Example 1: My supervisor currently takes into account everyone's PTO request and does her best to accommodate all our requests. Will that still be the case?
A1: The vast majority of union contracts are seniority-based. If the majority of the department has more seniority than you, it makes it difficult, if not impossible for less tenured caregivers and new hires to receive the PTO days/weeks they request. While seniority is currently one factor for your manager to consider when approving PTO requests, it is not the only factor. Today, your manager can work with the entire department to approve PTO schedules that work best for the majority of the caregivers in the department.

Example 2: Last year, my supervisor allowed me to flex my schedule by two hours during the school semester.  Could she still do that if we become represented by a union?
A2: No, you could not work that out with your supervisor yourself.  The union would have to approve of the temporary schedule change, and the union would represent all of the other bargaining unit caregivers as well and may not believe it is in the best interest of the rest of the bargaining unit for you to be able to flex your schedule during the school semester, and may therefore not be willing to pursue that accommodation for you.