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Workers Win Contract at St. Francis Medical Center
Date:9/7/2007

Tentative Agreement Sets Better Ability to Improve Patient Care

LYNWOOD, Calif., Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Healthcare workers at St. Francis Medical Center have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract at the hospital, winning provisions that will increase their ability to advocate for improved patient care, as well as boosting recruitment and development of a qualified and skilled staff.

The agreement, which must be ratified before taking effect, establishes new pay scales for caregivers. The contract also includes bonuses for certifications and paid education leave, which both improve patient care by offering incentives for workers to develop their skills.

"The pay scale we achieved will bring fairness and equity to the way healthcare workers are paid at St. Francis," said Donald Bolt, a respiratory therapist and member of the bargaining team. "Before, we never had a scale, and there was no accounting for why two people who did the same work could be earning very different amounts."

Caregivers represented by SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West have been bargaining with hospital management since mid-May. The new contract was hammered out in a marathon 20-hour bargaining session that ended at 6 a.m. Friday. The previous contract expired June 30.

"Settling this contract is a very important step in building a constructive relationship with the Daughters of Charity," said John Borsos, administrative vice president of UHW. "In light of the closure of King-Harbor, the vital role that St. Francis plays as a safety-net hospital is even more important. We look forward to working with the hospital to ensure that high- quality services are maintained in this key area."

St. Francis Medical Center is operated by the Daughters of Charity Health System, which runs six hospitals throughout California. UHW represents workers at five of them, where contracts will expire next April, including the new agreement reached at St. Francis.

The new pay scales mean a minimum wage increase of 4 percent, with most hospital workers seeing raises of around 12 percent, retroactive to July 1. Some workers' wages will increase by as much as 48 percent.

The 145,000-member SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West is the largest hospital and healthcare union in the western United States and represents every type of healthcare worker, including nurses, professional, technical and service classifications. Our mission is to achieve high-quality healthcare for all.

CONTACT: Tadzio Garcia

(213) 300-8974


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SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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