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Healthcare Workers Ratify Contract by a 98% Vote

The new collective bargaining agreement safeguards quality patient care

BURBANK, Calif. Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- SEIU United Healthcare Workers West, SEIU Local 121RN workers from Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center voted overwhelmingly to ratify their new contract providing real gains for healthcare workers and the patients they care for. The 4-year agreement with SEIU UHW West/SEIU Local 121RN and Providence Health & Services provides for changes concerning how the hospital will deliver care -- changes such as:

-- Job security provisions which includes a ban on subcontracting jobs to

the lowest bidder so that a stable workforce and consistent quality of

patient care is maintained.

-- Training upgrades to meet the growing demand for highly skilled

healthcare professionals - the hospital will contribute to a training

and education fund to provide workers with the opportunity to upgrade

their skills and keep up with a competitive and ever changing

healthcare industry.

-- Higher tuition reimbursements provide career advancement opportunities.

-- Wages increases, over the life of the four-year contract, average 29%

with a maximum increase of 93%. The increases bring wages at

Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in line with those offered at

other local hospitals.

Our contract improvements will keep experienced employees, who are dedicated to their professions and to patients at our hospital," said Cindy Triola, a registered nurse at the hospital, "and also recruit qualified RNs and other healthcare workers so patients get the best possible care. It's all about the patients and the care they receive."

"It was a long road but in the end we have a contract that puts patients first," said Rhonda Flannery, registered nurse at the hospital. After several months of negotiations, bargaining came to a halt in June when healthcare workers voted to strike but then called off their strike after agreeing to a 30-day cooling-off period brokered by Los Angeles City Councilmember Richard Alarcon. The SEIU bargaining team then continued their drive for key improvements and "in the end we won for our community, our families and our future," said Randy Arruda a surgical equipment technician at the hospital. "The agreement proves that healthcare workers and the hospital work together toward a common goal of providing quality patient care with an avenue for improvements, if needed."

Approximately 1,500 UHW Registered Nurses; Respiratory, Surgical and other Therapists and Technicians; EVS and Dietary workers; Licensed Vocational Nurses; Certified Nursing Assistants; Laboratory Assistants; and other healthcare providers are represented by SEIU UHW West, SEIU Local 121RN.

"We won this contract as a significant first step in building a constructive relationship with the Providence Health System, and certainly want to acknowledge the critical role Councilmember Richard Alarcon played in bringing the parties together to reach this settlement," says John Borsos, chief negotiator and Vice President of SEIU UHW West.

SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West and SEIU Local 121RN represent more than 152,000 healthcare workers in California. Together both locals represent every type of healthcare worker including nursing, professional, technical and service classifications, with mission to achieve high quality healthcare for all.

Contact: Tadzio Garcia


SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers West
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