Legacy Good Sam Workers Reach Tentative Agreement

SEIU hospital workers didn't get everything they wanted, but feel good about agreement

UPDATE: July 23, 2009 -- Contract officially ratified.
July 17, 2009 -- Two weeks after negotiations stalled and SEIU staged an informational picket, Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital employees reached a tentative agreement Wednesday (July 15) on a new three-year contract.

A ratification vote among all SEIU members at Good Sam will take place Thursday July 23 to solidify the deal.

“We didn’t get everything we asked for, but we feel really good about this contract,” said Teresa Walker, Good Sam Housekeeper and elected member of the SEIU Bargaining Team, based on an SEIU press release. “In a tough economy where many hospital workers are facing pay cuts and layoffs, we will receive significant pay increases. This contract will help the hospital retain and recruit the excellent staff we need to keep giving high quality patient care.”

At the picket two weeks ago, Legacy bargaining team member and Emergency Room technician Jay Redmond said that short staffing was harming patient care. She also said Legacy Good Sam workers were paid less than other Legacy employees, which Legacy spokesman Brian Terret flatly denied.

In addition, SEIU workers said they wanted better healthcare benefits, even though they work at a hospital.

“It’s kind of ironic to work in a hospital and not be able to provide care to your own families,” said Shauna Ballo, SEIU communications director.

Terret said Legacy provides competitive health benefits to its employees and that it does offer the lowest possible price because Legacy is in fact the provider for most of its own employees' care.

 

The tentative agreement includes:

• Across-the-board raises of 2% this year, 2.75% in 2010, 3.5% in 2011 (in addition to annual step increases to reflect experience);

• ER Techs, Cooks, and Central Sterile Tech II raised one pay grade January 2010, to bring them closer to market standards;

• The right to negotiate over changes to the retirement plan;

• New Labor/Management Committee to address issues of mutual concern including staffing;

• Increased fairness in assigning overtime;

• Better system for rewarding prior experience;

• Increased rights for union participation in order to have a stronger voice on the job; and

• An increased differential for employees with ten years or more of service to help retain experienced employees.