NEW YORK NURSE: October 2010
Q. Does an employer have the unquestionable right to decide who is going to get promoted?
A. Not when it comes to unionized employees.
The goals of an employer when making promotional decisions include achieving an effective use of human resources, and recruiting, retaining, and motivating employees. The union shares these goals, as long as the company abides by the provisions that were negotiated, mutually agreed to, and codified in the collective bargaining agreement. While the company may wish a particular employee to be rewarded with a promotion, the collective bargaining agreement may require a different outcome. The employer must live by the provisions it agreed to in the collective bargaining agreement.
While the employer may want to protect its right to make decisions and maintain flexibility in its business operations, the union represents the interests of the employees and will secure protections and guaranteed job opportunities for them by negotiating provisions in the collective bargaining agreement. These provisions include the use of seniority in granting promotions and transfers.
Collective bargaining agreements typically give weight to the seniority of promotional candidates. Nevertheless, contracts may place varying degrees of emphasis on seniority when compared to an employee’s overall abilities. Seniority and ability will comprise the most common issues addressed in the collective bargaining agreement with regard to an employer’s promotional decision-making authority. Most NYSNA contracts will define seniority and ability. Criteria for ability may include experience on the job, education, credentialing, and performance evaluations.
NYSNA will review an employer’s promotional decisions upon the request of a member. Any NYSNA union member who has been passed over for a promotion may contact their nursing representative to request such a review. The union will assess whether the passing over of an aggrieved employee:
If you have any questions about your employer’s promotional decisions, please contact your NYSNA representative.
The NYSNA EGW Program receives many inquiries each month from members who have problems in their workplaces. If you have a question about labor relations at your facility, contact your NYSNA nursing representative. If you have a question you think should be featured in this column, send it to: RNs at Work, NYSNA, 120 Wall Street, 23rd Floor, New York, N.Y. 10005.