Service and maintenance employees at Pocono Medical Center, members of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, recently voted by 92% to ratify a new union contract that will increase wages and ensure a continued strong voice for frontline caregivers at the hospital. The settlement comes after months of marches and other actions on the part of PMC workers.
“At a time when our country desperately needs good, family-sustaining jobs, this settlement will mean quality jobs and quality care for our community” said Kim Warner, who works in the CV / Telemetry Department “We achieved a fair compromise that protects workers’ rights to a strong voice for our patients, and that has always been our top priority.”
“For a over a year, PMC workers have stood up for their patients and their community, and their courage and determination have paid off,” said Neal Bisno, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. “We look forward to moving beyond the conflict and divisions of the last year and working together with management to ensure a strong future for the health system, the employees, and the patients of PMC.”
Highlights of the new two-year contract, which will expire on October 31st, 2013, include:
- Increasing the minimum wage rate at the hospital from $8.16 to $9.50/hour, also retroactive to July 1, 2011.
- Minimum 3% raises for all employees immediately, retroactive to July 1st, 2011, and an additional 3% raise on November 1, 2011.
- Maintaining 90% employer paid health care benefits, with strict caps on employee contributions.
- A modified “union shop” under which all current and future employees will be union members over the life of the contract, except for three limited opt out periods over the next two years.
- Improved provisions to minimize “pulling” of employees during a single shift, which will have a positive impact on patient care and employees’ work environment.
- Resolution of unfair labor practice charges, including a fair and just settlement for Rafelina Caraballo, whose termination is part of the complaint issued by the NLRB.
“Like the people occupying Wall Street, we have been standing up for the 99% of our community,” said Gloria Shupp, who works in Registration. “Now that we have achieved a fair contract, we are eager to keep moving forward to promote quality care and good jobs in our community.”