The more than 600 Providence St. Peter nursing assistants, dietary and housekeeping staff, sterile processors, and other service workers united in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW have won across-the-board wage increases, a $15/hour minimum, health benefit security, and staffing and quality improvements. The improvements are part of a new contract which union members ratified overwhelmingly in votes this week.
“Our new contract shows the difference our union can make,” said Angel Roberson, a Patient Care Partner/ER Tech at St. Pete’s and bargaining team member. “We’re proud to win raises for everyone and also to be bringing the $15 minimum to Olympia and raise the standards for us, for our level of patient care, and for our community.”
Whereas Seattle and Seatac raised their minimum wages to $15/hour, statewide the minimum is phasing-in up to $13.50. Starting January 1, 2018, no employee at St. Peter Hospital who works in a union service position will receive less than the $15/hour minimum.
“We won huge strides forward for security—in our health benefits, in our time off, and in our jobs,” said Randi Lumbert, a Health Unit Coordinator. “Having this union contract means peace of mind for my family.”
Among the new standards are agreements that Providence will not unilaterally change health benefits or vacation time accrual and usage policies. It also increases protections for workers should layoffs be necessary.
“When workers stand together in our union, we win,” said Kristine Woodall, a Cafeteria Lead and bargaining team member. “We are proof that working together works!”
Members had been bargaining to reach this new agreement for more than a year and participated in an informational picket in spring. The new agreement will expire in 2020.