Nurses secure big raises: Where, how much and when

Nurses and other workers at hospitals and health systems have secured large raises recently amid contract negotiations with unions. Others have also secured raises through minimum wage increases. Below is a breakdown of the raises, reported by Becker's since Dec. 14. 

1. Members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana (Calif.) Medical Center approved a contract that will raise wages by an average 40 percent over four years. The approval, announced Jan. 24, covers about 600 workers at the 245-bed hospital, such as licensed vocational nurses, nursing assistants, housekeepers, medical technicians and respiratory therapists. According to the union, the new contract includes cost of living raises and higher salary steps that will boost overall wages for members by an average of 40 percent over the life of the contract. 

2. Nurses at two New York City hospitals where strikes occurred earlier in January approved three-year agreements with Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan and Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. Ninety-eight percent of voting nurses at both hospitals, according to a Jan. 24 news release from the New York State Nurses Association. Voting concluded at Mount Sinai on Jan. 18 and at Montefiore on Jan. 20. According to the union, contracts at both facilities include improved staffing standards as well as stronger staffing enforcement mechanisms, including expedited arbitration of staffing disputes. The deals also include raises totaling 19 percent over the life of the contracts.

3. Pittsburgh-based UPMC will raise its minimum wage to $18 per hour, affecting entry-level positions, the health system said Jan. 12. UPMC will roll out the change in phases, first at its Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Williamsport hospitals, outpatient clinics, ambulatory centers and other facilities by January 2025, then at sites in Southwest Pennsylvania, Western Pennsylvania, Western Maryland and Southwest New York by January 2026. Unions will continue to negotiate wages and benefits for their members.

4. Members of Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania approved an agreement with UPMC Altoona (Pa.), part of Pittsburgh-based UPMC. Registered nurses at the hospital voted overwhelmingly to approve the new three-year deal Dec. 21, according to a union news release shared with Becker's. Union nurses had negotiated with UPMC administrators for more than five months. The new contract means eligible nurses can potentially earn more than 30 percent in wage increases over the life of the contract through adjustments, annual increases and career ladder opportunities, Jan Fisher, president of UPMC Altoona and Everett, Pa.-based UPMC Bedford, told nurses in an email shared with Becker's. The deal includes wage increases of 8 percent (5 percent wage adjustment and 3 percent annual increase) in the first year of the contract. Ms. Fisher told nurses the 5 percent wage adjustment will be retroactively paid beginning with the first pay period in November 2022. It also includes a 5.75 percent annual increase total over the second and third contract years (3 percent in the second year and 2.75 percent in the third year). 

5. Members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West at Stanford Medical Center and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., reached a tentative deal that raises wages and increases the minimum wage. SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West said Dec. 15 that highlights of the agreement include raising wages by 15 percent over the life of the contract, as well as increasing the hourly minimum wage at the hospitals to $25.       

6. Members of the Michigan Nurses Association at Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo approved a new three-year contract with hospital administration. The union represents about 300 nurses at the hospital, according to a Dec. 14 MNA news release. Ascension Borgess is part of Ascension, a nonprofit system based in St. Louis. According to the union, the agreement includes average raises of 20.5 percent in the first year of the contract. This creates a new wage scale ranging from $33.44 per hour to $48.72 per hour.

7. Members of the Minnesota Nurses Association approved three-year contracts with hospital executives that include pay raises and language to address staffing. The contracts cover nurses at 15 hospitals in the Twin Cities and Twin Ports. Union members bargained for new agreements for nine months, according to a Dec. 14 MNA news release. According to the union, the new contracts include "historic" pay raises. Nurses in the Twin Cities will see raises of 18 percent over three years while nurses in the Twin Ports will see raises of 17 percent during that period, with pay retroactive to expiration of the prior contract.

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