Swedish Hospital nurses, health care workers ratify contract

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my newsNurses and health care workers at Swedish Edmonds are among 7,000 Swedish employees who have ratified a new contract that brings staff and new hires at Swedish campuses in King and Snohomish Counties to a $15/hour minimum wage, according to a news release Monday from SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.

The contract covers nurses, housekeepers, dietary staff, technicians, nursing assistants, and professional staff at Swedish Edmonds including pharmacy, social workers and physical therapists. It will “lead to better patient care, better recruitment and retention, and higher standards for King and Snohomish County hospitals and employers,” the news release said.

It includes the following:

· Staffing set at or above California’s statewide nurse-to-patient ratio law. Charge nurses have the power to call in more staff when needed.
· Infection control improvements. Housekeeping staff will now specialize in one area of the hospital, allowing them to improve infection control.
· A provision that Swedish will pay all of employees’ health care cost for families at 250 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) or below and will pay half of of employee health care premiums for families under 400 percent FPL. In addition, Swedish staff will maintain their PPO plan for at least four years “and will not be forced onto a high-deductible catastrophic plan,” the announcement said.
· Immediate implementation of $15/hour minimum and raises to keep up with the cost of living. Across-the-board raises totaling a minimum of 7 percent in the first nine months of the contract for a total of 12.25 percent over the four-year life of the contract. Long-tenured service workers receive an additional 2.5 percent raise immediately with the addition of a new top wage step.

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