Stat Facts: June 25, 2019

New contract at St. Mary’s Hospital in Michigan sees long-overdue wage increases

Members of Local 9899-1’s bargaining committee held strong for seven months and finally settled a new three-year agreement with Touch Point at Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital in Saginaw, Mich., this month. The contract includes wage increases for the approximately 150 environmental and nutritional service workers who haven’t had raises in several years.

“For the last contract, they barely gave us pennies,” said Local 9899 President Jackie Anklam. “So when we pushed this time, we were surprised we were able to push them as far as we did.”

Anklam and the rest of the bargaining committee faced many challenges during negotiations, including having them at all.

“We couldn’t get management to the table,” said Anklam. “They would postpone meetings and purposefully miss them.”

Despite the company’s tactics, the committee held out for the contract they knew they and their fellow members deserved. Along with wage increases that will allow veteran workers more leverage, the local also gained stronger language regarding union leave and orientation, as well as retroactive pay back to November 7, 2018.

USW settlement at long-term care facility improves conditions, wages, and benefits

Workers at the Caressant Care Nursing and Retirement Homes in Cobden, Ontario, settled two collective agreements for USW Local 6936 that recognize the growing issues of staffing and increased levels of care.

“Our members are experiencing more and more stress as they deal with changing workloads, increased patient acuity and government austerity,” said USW District 6 Director Marty Warren. “This is all at a time when long-term care is becoming more important to an aging and ailing population.”

The three-year agreements will see wage increases by a total of 4.5 percent in the nursing home and by 6 percent in the retirement home. The contracts cover service workers, personal support workers (PSWs), registered practical nurses (RPNs), and registered nurses (RNs).

In both contracts, there are increases in uniform allowances, vision care, weekend premiums and benefits covering such services as chiropractors, psychologists and others. Employees will also be able to be paid for 50 percent of unused sick leave.

For the first time, there is also a provision for time off for employees to deal with domestic violence.

“This settlement is a step forward for these 138 members of our union,” said Warren. “At the same time, however, due to government austerity and the consequent restraint practiced by boards of arbitration, wage increases tend to be below the rate of inflation.

“That needs to change as long-term care generally faces a shortage of skilled workers. The future demands secure public services for older Canadians and better working conditions for care providers.”

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