Ninety eight percent of SEIU Texas healthcare workers ratified an agreement with Providence Memorial Hospital on May 13, 2016. The frontline healthcare providers are members of SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Texas and include all job classifications outside of nurses and doctors, such as certified nursing assistants, lab techs, environmental service workers, and dietary aides at Providence Memorial Hospital. Sara Torres, a member of the bargaining team and a Phlebotomist at Providence Memorial Hospital indicated that “after bargaining, morale of the employees has gone up. Employees feel valued knowing that they will be able to count on a pay increase for the next three years.”
The three-year agreement will provide quality jobs at living wages with good benefits to Providence Memorial healthcare workers. The contract includes a 7.5% wage increase over the three year life of the contract for all job classifications represented by SEIU Texas. For the first time, the contract sets a living wage minimum for all employees under the contract. The minimum wage will be set at $9.50 an hour this year and will escalate to $10.50 an hour by 2018. In addition, Providence Memorial Hospital will increase its contributions to employees’ retirement plans and retain access to affordable health insurance.
An important new addition to the agreement is the creation of a Labor Management Committee. This committee will act as a vehicle for employees to raise concerns about working conditions that impact patient care and work with management to find solutions to these problems. “Having the labor management committee in the contract is extremely important to employees. The committee allows workers to address issues with the company and to work towards solutions that benefit patients, workers and the hospital.” said Sergio Garcia, a Hospital Unit Clerk and a member of the bargaining team.
Since 2010, healthcare workers in El Paso have been uniting to have a voice in patient care. In six years, their efforts as SEIU Texas have grown to include1,500 healthcare workers in El Paso. SEIU Texas members work at Providence Memorial Hospital, Del Sol Medical Center and University Medical Center of El Paso. As El Paso’s economy strengthens as a result of growth in the medical sector, SEIU Texas caregivers are committed to providing quality, living wage jobs for healthcare workers and to expanding access to quality healthcare for all El Pasoans.