— SEIU Texas (@SEIUTX) August 9, 2016
UMC workers won a major victory at the Aug. 9 budget hearing.
When the UMC board put out its first proposed budget for 2017, there were NO competitive pay raises for the many UMC workers who make less than peers doing the same jobs at other El Paso hospitals.
But after SEIU Texas members packed the budget hearing in July the board adopted $1.5 million in new, competitive pay raises in 2017.
The competitive pay plan is one of the four key items of the Quality Care Agenda that SEIU Texas members are proposing:
• Invest in Competitive Pay – Keep dedicated workers at UMC by raising pay to what workers make at other El Paso hospitals
• Safe and Healthy Hospital – Start a task force where frontline workers get a real voice in improving patient care, staffing, and worker safety.
• Hear Our Voices – Make sure the hospital respects our choice to unite in SEIU.
• Affordable Healthcare for All El Pasoans – We help the administration fulfill
While it’s good news that the UMC Board adopted the competitive pay plan, and increased the “merit” increase to 2.5%, the budget is not yet final–the County Commissioners still need to approve it. SEIU Texas members must also continue to press management to work with us in our union to determine which jobs are furthest behind.
Join UMC workers at the next big budget hearings:
Tues., August 16 and Tues., August 23
El Paso County Courthouse
500 E. San Antonio St.
University Medical Center held its the first public hearing on its 2017 budget on Wednesday, July 20. Frontline caregivers from UMC were there to present their quality-care agenda for El Paso’s community hospital. The UMC caregivers are members of SEIU Texas, a union that also includes employees at Del Sol, Las Palmas and Providence hospitals in El Paso.
“Healthcare workers across El Paso have united in SEIU Texas to advocate for the highest quality care at our hospitals,” said Veronica Marquez, a medical lab technologist who has worked at UMC for 25 years. “As caregivers, we are very excited to share our experience and insights with the leadership team at UMC so we can work together to provide great care to all El Pasoans.”
The UMC caregivers made their presentation to the UMC Board of Managers, focusing on four key agenda items:
• Safe Hospital, Healthy Patients. To ensure the highest standards of care, SEIU Texas proposes that UMC initiate a Health and Safety Committee made up of management and frontline workers to identify areas for improvement and to promote best practices. This pilot project would tap the experience of frontline employees to address health and safety issues like hospital-acquired infections.
• Smart Investments to Compete in El Paso. Last year, the County Commission invested in UMC’s workforce by raising the hospital’s minimum wage to $10 an hour. That move and other raises — particularly for workers making below $15 an hour — has reduced turnover in many positions. However, there are still many jobs where UMC pay lags the market. SEIU Texas proposes that in FY2017, UMC work with SEIU Texas to identify those job classes and invest in them to stay competitive.
• Hear Our Voices. Since 2010, more than 1,500 caregivers at Del Sol, Las Palmas and Providence hospitals have united in SEIU Texas and raised the standards for care at their facilities. Now UMC workers have formed a union with SEIU Texas. SEIU TX seeks to work cooperatively with UMC leadership to establish a relationship that fosters good will, innovation and open communication between employees and the administration. SEIU Texas proposes that UMC follow the example of the private sector hospitals in El Paso, as well as the City, County, and school districts in having a clear framework for working with employee organizations to improve the hospital.
• Affordable Health Care for ALL El Pasoans. UMC is often the only source of care for families who are uninsured, some of whom are also undocumented. Lacking access to care, they often must delay seeking treatment until they are very sick, leading to emergency room care that is five times more costly to patients and taxpayers alike. To ensure better, less costly care, SEIU Texas proposed that UMC create a study committee with hospital employees and managers, representatives from the Border Network for Human Rights, and other community stakeholders. They will hear from experts and innovators on this issue and form policy recommendations to be reported in June 2017.
SEIU Texas members spoke at last year’s UMC budget hearings and advocated for a number of improvements. Key among them was the need to raise the chronically low minimum wage. Following those hearings, UMC raised its minimum wage to $10 an hour.
The caregivers look forward to continuing this progress at UMC under the leadership of incoming CEO Jacob Cintron, who was named to the post last week. Cintron comes to UMC from Del Sol Medical Center, where he served as CEO when caregivers there formed a union with SEIU Texas.
In a statement released last week, SEIU Texas caregivers praised Cintron’s track record at Del Sol of “respecting workers’ choice to form a union and of building relationships between union workers and management. We look forward to working with him to provide the best possible care to the community we all love.”
Following the announcement that Jacob Cintron has been named Chief Executive Officer of the University Medical Center (UMC) of El Paso, Robyn Wylie, a respiratory therapist at UMC and El Paso resident, issued the following statement. Wylie, who has worked at UMC for 13 years, spoke on behalf of the many UMC employees — Including nursing assistants, environmental services workers, surgical technicians and others — who have been uniting in the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Texas:
“UMC employees have formed a union with SEIU Texas to forge a partnership to ensure the highest quality healthcare at our hospital. We are excited that Jacob Cintron has been hired as the new CEO of UMC because, like us, he has demonstrated a commitment to El Paso and to expanding access to quality healthcare for all El Pasoans.
“Also, in talking to our colleagues at Del Sol Medical Center, we know he has a track record of respecting workers’ choice to form a union and of building relationships between union workers and management. We look forward to working with him to provide the best possible care to the community we all love.”
Since 2010, more than 1,500 healthcare workers at three El Paso hospitals — Providence Memorial Hospital, Del Sol Medical Center and Las Palmas Medical Center — have voted to formally unite in SEIU Texas. Working together through the union, they have negotiated contracts that have raised standards for workers and patients at their facilities. For example, SEIU Texas members at Providence established a committee in their new contract that will enhance communication with management and ensure that patients can benefit from the expertise of front-line healthcare workers.
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