Workers at 3 Tenet hospitals in California approve contracts with double-digit pay raises

Workers at three Tenet Healthcare hospitals in Southern California have approved contracts that will boost pay and address patient and worker safety, according to Aug. 30 hospital and union statements.  

The three-year contracts cover more than 830 healthcare workers represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

One of the contracts covers more than 610 workers at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital, including respiratory therapists, nursing assistants and medical technicians. The other contracts cover approximately 225 housekeepers and dietary workers at Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos Medical Center and Lakewood Medical Center, jobs which Tenet subcontracts to Compass Group. 

In July, the workers authorized a strike for the three hospitals amid contract negotiations.

The union said the new contract for Fountain Valley workers will increase salaries 15 percent on average in the first year of the agreement, with additional raises in the next two years. The new contract also includes additional pay for working late shifts, along with a new health plan that will lower annual premium costs, said National Union of Healthcare Workers. 

Under the new contract, according to the union, Fountain Valley also agreed to maintain a three-month supply of PPE and notify workers of contact with a patient suspected of having a highly infectious disease. The hospital must also pay for missed shifts for up to 14 days when a worker is quarantining.

"This contract shows what we can achieve as caregivers when we stay united and fight for our patients," Ron Rosano, a surgical technician, said in a news release. "We're proud of the raises we've earned and the provisions we won that will protect the health and safety of patients and ourselves."

Jennifer Bayer, a spokesperson for Tenet, also praised the agreement. 

"During the negotiation process, we were focused on reaching an agreement that was good for employees and our hospital. This agreement provides a long-term competitive compensation and benefits package to ensure that we remain well staffed and have the resources to continue to provide excellent patient care," she said in a statement shared with Becker's

The union said the contracts for subcontracted housekeepers and food service workers at Los Alamitos, Fountain Valley and Lakewood set a minimum hourly salary of $18.20, a standard that raises salaries for most subcontracted workers 17 percent to 30 percent. The agreements for subcontracted workers includes additional 3 percent raises in the second and third years of the contract.

Tenet did not participate in negotiations for Compass workers' deals.

A spokesperson for Compass told Becker's, "Our hard-working team members are at the heart of what we do, and their determination to provide best-in-class care and service is inspiring. We take pride in paying competitive wages and providing affordable benefits. We are pleased our new agreement has been ratified and look forward to continuing to work productively with the NUHW."

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