When Fulton County Medical Center (FCMC) announced they would be outsourcing their dietary department, workers there were concerned. The group had never really been involved with the union and initially wanted to trust management and give them a chance to do the right thing.
But suddenly, reality hit. The new contracting company was not going to honor seniority. People being hired off the street would start at a higher wage rate than experienced staff who had been working there for years. Workers saw shrinking paychecks as their years of service were not honored and their healthcare costs jumped.
Workers who had been in that department for over 30 years suddenly felt disrespected. They were outsiders.
Dietary workers realized they needed a voice and a way to fight back and the way to do that was to organize. The entire department signed on to become full members of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania and, in solidarity, headed into contract negotiations with the new company to demand a fair contract for their work.
The new company didn’t think the workers would stick together and was ready to pounce. What they didn’t know was that these healthcare workers were ready to RISE and realize their collective strength.
That strength ultimately meant victory for the workers. In the end, they won a five-year contract that includes:
- Wage increases that bring all workers over $10 an hour;
- Tenure bonus to encourage retention;
- A retirement plan;
- Fair Paid Time Off that recognizes years of service;
- Seniority protections;
- Full union security;
- Improved bereavement leave;
- Guaranteed yearly wage increases;
- Successorship language; and
- A medical insurance stipend
When workers come together to form a union, they find the power they were lacking as individuals in the workplace. When workers stick together, they can accomplish anything. When we fight, we win!