Workers win 4% increases, regain pension after joining union
Salinas, California — Three months after joining the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), eighteen previously non-union pharmacists at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital (SVMH) have won a contract that extends to August 2013.
The pharmacists’ contract includes no takeaways and:
- 4% wage increases for the term of the agreement - the first raises pharmacists have received in four years
- the reinstatement of their defined benefit pension plan, which management took away prior to their joining NUHW
- reduced healthcare costs
- stronger scheduling language
“Thanks to the hard work of our union, NUHW, we were able to finalize a contract that protects our jobs, benefits and retirement,” said Joe Zakar, a Pharmacist for six years at SVMH.
NUHW members’ victories at SVMH stand in stark contrast to major concessions agreed to by SEIU-UHW at the nearby Daughters of Charity Health System-owned St. Louise Hospital in Gilroy, where workers have seen their defined benefit pension eliminated, two-tier retirement benefits erected, and deep cuts to their health benefits and on-call pay. SEIU-UHW has also agreed to takeaways impacting tens of thousands of workers at Kaiser Permanente and Dignity Health.
SVMH pharmacists joined NUHW after 700 of their co-workers engaged in a year-long struggle to win a fair contract at the hospital, including waging a massive strike, fighting back threatened layoffs and bringing national attention and a state audit to excessive executive compensation practices approved by the hospital’s Board of Directors. Those workers, also members of NUHW, won a contract with raises and no concessions after leaving SEIU.
On Thursday the 28th, the SVMH Board of Directors will vote to approve the tentative agreement. NUHW members will vote to ratify it the following Monday.