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Rochester General Hospital Preparing for 2nd Strike

Rochester General Hospital

According to reports, the Rochester Union of Nurses and Allied Professional (RUNAP) are gearing up for a second strike.

RUNAP advised 13WHAM that a five-day strike is planned for October 23, after 91 percent voted in favor of the strike.

The potential strike comes days after Rochester General Hospital (RGH) published a press release on the negotiations between RGH and RUNAP.

The release stated the 23rd bargaining session between Rochester General Hospital (RGH) and the Rochester Union of Nurses & Allied Professionals (RUNAP) since negotiations began in October of last year. The session lasted from 11 AM to 6 PM and included the presence of a Federal Mediator to assist in the negotiations.

During the session, RGH presented two packages of counterproposals. The first package included a 6% base rate increase for all nurses, with further increases to the Year 1 rate for many RNs by March 30, 2024. In addition, nurses would receive a 4% increase in years two and three, and a 3% increase in year four of the contract. RGH also proposed that if the hospital implements a wage program with higher rates for other facilities in the Finger Lakes Region, those increased rates would apply to RUNAP as well. RGH also proposed a Performance Recognition Program, setting aside funds for additional monetary rewards when certain objectives related to patient care, safety, or hospital performance are achieved.

RGH maintained its prior proposal on the Per Diem Program and Compensation and revised its counterproposal on certifications to provide incentive pay for nurses with certifications. RGH also revised its counterproposal on on-call nurses, offering an additional $5 per hour.

RGH informed RUNAP that if a Tentative Agreement could be reached on the items in this package during the session, a 6% base-rate increase would be provided to all RUNAP nurses in October 2023, rather than waiting for the full contract to take effect.

In response, RUNAP presented its own package proposal addressing wages, per diem compensation, insurance benefits, staffing, staffing incentive program, temporary reassignment/floating, retirement benefits, differentials, certifications, and hours/overtime/on-call/schedules. The proposals in RUNAP’s package differed from those presented by the hospital. Unfortunately, no tentative agreement was reached on any of these items.

RGH’s second package of counterproposals responded to the package presented by RUNAP at the previous session. It included revisions to the holiday proposal, an updated counterproposal on vacation days for nurses with 25+ years of service, maintaining the prior proposal on paid sick time and proposing to add nephews, nieces, aunts, and uncles to the list of family members eligible for paid bereavement leave. RGH also presented a revised counterproposal on unpaid leaves of absence, allowing nurses to take up to five weeks of unpaid leave for personal reasons if approved by RGH nursing leadership.

Additionally, RGH proposed that one member of RUNAP’s executive leadership team would be permitted to take unpaid personal leave to work for the union once during the contract’s duration.

The parties discussed a responsive package from RUNAP, which included proposals on holidays, vacation, paid sick leave, and unpaid leave. RUNAP proposed an increase in the limit for paid sick leave to 72 hours per year and allowing up to two RUNAP members to take unpaid personal leave to work for the union, with non-concurrent leaves.

A Tentative Agreement was not reached on these items during the session. RGH emphasized that for RUNAP to reach an agreement, they should come back with a reasonable counterproposal on wages and other items and agree to allow the staffing committee to determine ratios based on patient needs.

A follow-up meeting has not been scheduled. RGH confirmed that updates will be issued following each session.

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