by Pete Mazzaccaro
Union workers at Chestnut Hill Hospital, who staged several demonstrations along Germantown Avenue in recent months, announced that they have voted to approve a contract.
According to a statement by the workers’ union, Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania, the two-year contract provides guaranteed annual wage increases and a one-time adjustment to make wages among all hospital staff equitable.
“We value all of our employees and are pleased to have reached a mutually acceptable agreement with our employees covered by this contract,” said hospital CEO John Cacciamani.
Union negotiations, though, went on for nearly 10 months, with union employees saying that equitable pay was the top issue.
“We formed a union to have a voice in the decisions that are made in our hospital – and now we have that,” said Rodney Abney, a sterile processing technician. “We’re looking forward to continuing to work with management to make Chestnut Hill Hospital both a provider and employer of choice.”
According to the union statement, all workers will receive a 2 percent raise each year, and employee health care benefit costs will remain unchanged during the term of the contract.
“Equitable pay is so important to keeping dedicated workers,” said Camillah Corley, a unit secretary at the hospital. “It’s disheartening to work here for years and see new hires making more than you. Thankfully, that will be coming to an end.”
The agreement also establishes a labor-management committee that, according to the statement, will address issues between contract negotiations, create a grievance and arbitration procedure, and establish fair procedures for handling scheduling, staffing and layoffs.”
The contract covers more than 110 nursing assistants, transporters, emergency room technicians, phlebotomists and other front-line workers. The workers formed their union with SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania in the summer of 2013.”