Minnesota health care local scores multiple wins, bonuses in latest contract

Roughly 70 members at the Range Center in Hibbing, Minn., who provide top-level care to people with mental and physical disabilities, won multiple gains in their latest contract that was negotiated in a single day.

One of the top priorities at the bargaining table for Marketa Anderson, president of amalgamated Local 9349 and unit chair for the Range Center, was recognition pay for workers who’ve been at the center for many years.

“It’s the veterans who keep this place going,” Anderson said. “It was important for their work and commitment to be recognized.”

The bargaining committee was able to do just that and secured longevity bonuses for employees with a minimum of two years of service. They also won significant increases to starting wages for all job classifications, from dietary instructors and office assistants to licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and custodial workers. Maintenance technician starting wages saw the biggest increase by $4.25 per hour.

The team also negotiated an increase to the company’s monthly contribution to the workers’ HSA from $50 to $100, helping to offset rising costs.

The local has seven more contracts up for negotiations this year with large health care employers, including Essentia Health. Anderson said they are hoping to continue building community support as these campaigns launch.

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