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  Public Employee Press

PEP Feb 2014 Table of Contents
  La Voz

Public Employee Press

Grievance News
$53,000 for Jacobi Hospital workers

VICTORY: (from left) CSAs Edwin Mprah, Shedrach Alenkhe,
Eric Lopez and three others won an out-of-title grievance against Jacobi Hospital.

Six Central Sterile Assistants at Jacobi Hospital shared a payout of over $53,000 to settle an out-of-title work grievance against the Health and Hospitals Corp.

DC 37 Hospitals Division Council Rep Joel Viera-Vera filed the grievance in January 2013 for CSA Shedrach Alenkhe and five others after management assigned them the work of higher-paid Bio Medical Techs, sterilizing operating room equipment, but refused to compensate them properly.

In his 2011 job interview with Jacobi's Central Supply director, Alenkhe was led to believe that “certification was a condition of employment," he said. Alenkhe, with a bachelor's degree, was certified after completing a 10-month course and a four-month internship at Bellevue Hospital and passing the qualifying exam.

At a Local 420 meeting, he got the official CSA and BMT job descriptions. "To my surprise, the only state requirement for CSA is the ability to read and write," he said. HHC pays BMTs, who must be certified, $45,000 a year. CSAs earn $28,000, but the certified CSAs do most of the OR sterilizing at Jacobi, which cut its roster of BMTs from 10 to three, Alenkhe said. He shared the information with his co-workers and asked the manager why the CSAs were paid less for the same work. Getting no satisfying answer, Alenkhe called the union.

"The manager tried to cut corners by placing certified workers in the lower-paid title," Viera-Vera said.

To settle the grievance, HHC issued a cease-and-desist letter to Jacobi and agreed to pay the six the salary difference retroactive to January 2013. The Central Supply director refused to promote the CSAs and "tried to get us to sign waivers that would have locked us into the lower-paid position indefinitely," Alenkhe said.

"Jacobi stalled on paying," said DC 37 Assistant General Counsel Deena Mikhail, who threatened court action. HHC finally paid the grievants on Dec. 20.

"This case shows how DC 37 fights for hardworking members when managers ignore the contract and try to take advantage of them," Mikhail said.

Jacobi still assigns BMT work to the CSAs, who have filed another grievance. "We won't stop until we get what we deserve," Alenkhe said.

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