By DANIEL ROTHBERG · Daily Trojan
The Keck Hospital of USC and the National Union of Healthcare Workers reached a tentative agreement Tuesday for a three-year contract that, if ratified, will remain in effect until April 2015. NUHW members will vote to ratify the deal next week.
The tentative agreement includes salary raises between 9.75 and 33 percent over the course of the contract, full employer-based health care insurance and paid time off, according to an NUHW press release.
“This agreement features a generous compensation and benefits package that includes salary increases upon contract ratification and again in 2013 and 2014,” said Scott Evans, interim hospital CEO and COO, in a press release. “It serves the best interests of all Keck Hospital of USC employees while maintaining our competitive position in the increasingly competitive health care marketplace.”
In an effort to secure a suitable contract, hospital employees participated in an informational picket and a 24-hour strike in October 2011. Additionally, caregivers signed off on the authorization of a second strike, if necessary.
The caregivers, who were formally represented by another union, have been negotiating a first contract with NUHW since August 2010.
During the negotiation process, the hospital sought concessions, such as repealing a ban on subcontracting and replacing seniority-based pay with merit-based pay, according to an NUHW press release.
“This agreement is proof positive that when workers stay united and stand up for ourselves, we can win a fair contract with raises and no takeaways,” said Julio Estrada, a respiratory therapist at USC, in the press release. “We don’t have to give up our benefits just because the employer says so. NUHW is a fighting union, and that’s why we won.”
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