The Commonwealth Health Professionals, members of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, have overwhelmingly ratified their new 4-year agreement by 93 percent. The new contract follows the other unions, with a 10.75% wage increase over the next 4 years and no increase in healthcare until 2014 when all but a ½ percent of the 2 percent increase can be avoided by enrolling in the “get healthy” program. In return, on January 1, 2012 members will cap sick time accrual at 11 days, 2 days less than their current 13.
“Members feel good about the settlement. At a time when public sector unions are under attack across the country, we were able to maintain good standards, get a respectable increase and increase our ability to advocate for our patients and our profession,” said Harriet Lenair, an RN at Wernersville State Hospital.
In addition, there were important improvements to education benefits including certification pay, out-service training, and an additional education day. Members will have the ability to request civil leave for disaster relief efforts, advocate for their profession through recruitment and retention discussions and renegotiate particular sections should nurse licensure requirements change during the 4 year agreement.
CONGRATULATIONS to the negotiating committee and all State nurses for standing together to reach this settlement!
Our fight has just begun to protect healthcare services for the people of the Commonwealth, ensure that corporations making huge profits in this state are paying their fair share, and stand up to the threats of privatization and downsizing of State services.