New Contract at St. Mary Medical Center

Some 750 members of Local 183 in Apple Valley, Calif., ratified a new contract on Aug. 17 that raises wages, increases retirement contributions and retains medical benefits without any change in premiums.

Local 183 President Alma Garzon said that while wages were a big priority going into negotiations, the local, which staffs St. Mary Medical Center, was also successful in achieving some of its other goals, like the addition of President’s Day as a new paid holiday.

Garzon attributed the success to preparation and solidarity between the members who work in a wide variety of jobs and departments in the hospital, including radiology, pharmacy, lab, the emergency room and many others.

“We had a lot of communication with our members. We also had our stewards work hard to get the information out across the hospital. We passed out flyers, did pins,” Garzon said. “The whole negotiating team worked tirelessly to accomplish what we got.”

She also said the local benefited from watching the nurses’ union go through negotiations last year, which helped them stave off many of the hospital’s concessions. “We knew what management wanted to take away and what to put on the table. It helped a lot that someone had negotiated ahead of us,” said Garzon.

The new contract ultimately made important gains, including a ten percent wage increase over the three-year life of the agreement, a bump in standby pay and a ratification bonus.

“This agreement is another win for our members,” said District 12 Director Bob LaVenture. “They are a vital part of keeping their patients safe and healthy, and they deserve fair compensation for their work.”

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