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Workers fight back again against Providence (St. Joseph Health) payroll errors

For the second time in less than a year, NUHW members at Providence (formerly Providence St. Joseph Health) hospitals have successfully protected their rights amid the hospital chain’s chronic payroll issues.

In January, Providence failed to deduct healthcare and other items from workers’ paychecks. The hospital’s response was to announce that it would double the deductions on the following paycheck. But the health care giant failed to take into account that a double deduction could cause financial hardship for many workers — and that it violated our contracts.

Stewards and organizers pushed back, and Providence backed down and agreed not to proceed with a double deduction in this pay period. Further discussions will take place about whether the missed deductions would take place.

NUHW members at Providence are no strangers to fighting back against payroll errors — and winning.

Last summer, NUHW members at Providence hospitals across Northern California held a press conference about systemic payroll errors costing them and their colleagues thousands of dollars in lost wages over the past month. It received coverage in Becker’s Hospital Review, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, the Eureka Times-Standard.

Providence, one of the nation’s largest Catholic health chains, with 52 hospitals across seven states, has acknowledged the errors following a change to its payroll system, but has failed to correct them, leaving its employees struggling to make ends meet.

Through pressure and perseverance, NUHW members not only recouped their lost wages, they forced Providence to pay them extra in penalties.

Providence agreed last September to provide penalty pay based on how many paycheck periods a worker was initially underpaid.

  1. One pay cycle: $250
  2. Two pay cycles: $550
  3. Three pay cycles: $850
  4. Four pay cycles: $1,150

Even though Providence agreed to penalty pay, NUHW members have had to remain vigilant in making sure that all of their colleagues get the penalty pay which they are owed.

“Providence’s payroll errors have been an inexcusable burden for so many of us, but I’m proud of my colleagues holding Providence accountable,” said Tammy Wiggin, a switchboard operator at Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa. “This ordeal has made us stronger as a union throughout the Providence system.”

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