Labor negotiations spur big raises for healthcare workers

Workers across industries are securing large raises at the bargaining table, with about 100 labor deals ratified in 2022 including a double-digit pay increase in their first year, according to an analysis of Bloomberg Law labor data.

For the analysis, Bloomberg Law examined wage increases negotiated in 817 contracts ratified in 2022. The wage data, covering about 1,408,600 union workers, were calculated using the publication's database of U.S. Settlement Summaries.\

Among 817 union contracts ratified in 2022, the average first-year wage increase was 5.7 percent, up from 3.7 percent the year prior, the analysis found. That's the highest average rate since 1990.

Within private nonmanufacturing, which includes healthcare and post-secondary education contracts, the 2022 average first-year wage increase for union contracts ratified in 2022 was 6.8 percent, up from 4.3 percent in 2021. 

The raises come as hospital workers across the U.S. have participated in labor activity such as strike authorization votes and informational picketing.

Nurses at Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, Mich., are among those who negotiated double-digit raises in their contract's first year. 

Members of the Michigan Nurses Association at Ascension Borgess approved a new three-year contract with hospital administration Dec. 14 after reaching a tentative deal earlier in the month. Before the tentative deal, nurses had given their bargaining team the ability to call a strike.

The contract, which covers about 300 nurses at the hospital, 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.

Additionally, members of the Washington State Nurses Association at Astria Toppenish (Wash.) Hospital ratified a 2022 contract with a 27.5 percent first-year pay increase, according to Bloomberg Law.

To read the full analysis, click here.  

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