Philadelphia – A strong majority of frontline caregivers and service workers at Chestnut Hill Hospital voted to approve their first union contract yesterday. In addition to provisions that ensure workers have a voice in workplace issues, the two-year contract provides guaranteed across the board raises each year, and also implements a one-time adjustment to address wage inequities among employees.
“We formed a union to have a voice in the decisions that are made in our hospital – and now we have that,” said Rodney Abney who works at the hospital as a sterile processing technician. “We’re looking forward to continuing to work with management to make Chestnut Hill Hospital both a provider and employer of choice.”
A significant issue in the final days of negotiations was the issue of wage equity. Many senior workers at Chestnut Hill Hospital made wages lower than more recently hired employees. Under the contract, approximately 45 workers will receive a one-time wage adjustment to bring their raises in line with the rest of their co-workers.
“Equitable pay is so important to keeping dedicated workers. It’s disheartening to work here for years and see new hires making more than you. Thankfully, that will be coming to an end,” said Camillah Corley, a unit secretary at the hospital.
All workers will receive a 2% raise each year of the contract, regardless of whether they receive the equity adjustment. Employee health care benefit costs will remain unchanged during the term of the contract.
As a first union contract, the agreement also establishes a labor-management committee to address issues between contract negotiations, a grievance and arbitration procedure, and creates fair procedures for handling scheduling, staffing and lay offs.
The contract covers more than 110 nursing assistants, transporters, emergency room tech, phlebotomists and other front line workers. The workers formed their union with SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania in the summer of 2013.
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SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state’s largest and fastest growing union of health care workers, representing 25,000 nurses, technicians, nursing assistants, and support staff in hospitals, nursing homes and public institutions across the Commonwealth.
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is committed to improving the lives of health care workers and ensuring quality, affordable health care for all Pennsylvanians.