Lehigh Valley Hospital – Pocono workers overwhelmingly ratified their first contract with Lehigh Valley Health after months of negotiations with hospital management! By sticking together, more than 400 nursing assistants, technicians, dietary, and environmental service workers settled a contract that moves workers’ wages forward, improves healthcare, and gives members a greater voice in their hospital.
At the beginning of the bargaining progress, Lehigh Valley Health proposed a number of major takeaways in an attempt to erode the standards our members have built over several years at Pocono. Their initial proposals included stripping 80 per diem employees from the bargaining unit, increasing healthcare premiums by over 50%, and converting nearly 150 full-time employees to part-time status.
LVH-Pocono members engaged deeply and seriously around these proposed takeaways, meeting with several elected officials, including Senator John Blake, State Representative Maureen Madden, Congresswoman Susan Wild, and members of the Stroudsburg Borough Council. Workers also hosted a community press conference with local healthcare workers, patients, State Representative Maureen Madden, and Stroudsburg Mayor Tarah Probst to demand quality care and quality jobs in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Through these public actions and others, Pocono workers maintained a hard line on their top priorities and managed to settle an agreement that protected members from nearly all of LVH-Pocono’s proposed takeaways. Their newly ratified agreement includes 2% raises every year of the contract, immediate job class upgrades, increases to every position’s minimum starting wage, and lower copays and deductibles.
“Our unity was critical to winning the fair contract that Pocono workers and our patients deserve,” said Maddie Lopez-Vazquez, Chapter President at LVH-Pocono. “From the start of bargaining, our committee was clear that we needed to set higher standards for quality jobs and quality care in our community. We stood strong in our union and made meaningful progress on our goals of improving healthcare and working conditions and moving all of our members forward economically.”