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NUHW Tarzana members approve new contract with big raises

Asia Gardner was all smiles after voting to approve the new NUHW contract at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center.

The nursing assistant at the Mother/Baby unit is getting an 18 percent raise this year and a 50 percent increase over the life of the four-year agreement.

“I got a really high pay increase, and it’s going to help with inflation, rent, and rising gas and food prices,” she said.

“I think it’s great that we’re all getting up to the wage scale and we get paid what we deserve,” added David Popiel, a discharge planner with the Case Management Department.

Tarzana employees, including licensed vocational nurses, phlebotomists, clerical workers, nursing assistants, food service workers, medical technicians, housekeepers, and respiratory therapists picketed the hospital last month to protest the hospital’s non-competitive wage rates that had resulted in severe understaffing.

After workers overwhelmingly authorized a strike, Providence finally agreed to a contract that will bring wages up to market standard at the facility, where, on average, workers were paid 22 percent lower than other nearby unionized hospitals.

The agreement includes:

  • Cost of living raises and higher salary steps that will increase overall wages for workers by an average of 40 percent over four years.
  • A $1,500 ratification bonus for full time workers and $750 for part time workers.
  • Recognition of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
  • Clearer path for part-time workers to get full time status.

“This contract is going to make our hospital a better place for caregivers and patients,” said Jonathan Mexicanos, a respiratory therapist at Tarzana. “We’ve lost too many good caregivers because they were underpaid and the hospital was understaffed; but now Tarzana should be able to hire more caregivers and keep them here serving our patients.”

The agreement was covered in Becker’s Hospital Review and the Los Angeles Daily News.

Sheldon Krasner, a Senior Endoscopy Tech whose salary will increase by 39 percent over the life of the contract, expects the new contract will help the San Fernando Valley hospital recruit and retain quality staff.

“This contract gives us a little breathing room, and we know we’re not under market,” he said. “We feel acknowledged and we don’t have to think about looking for another job.”

After ratifying the contract, more than 50 workers signed up to contribute to NUHW’s Committee on Political Education (COPE) which helps NUHW increase its political power for the benefit of its members and workers throughout California and Hawaii.

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