SEIU Local 49 members at Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital in Lincoln City, Oregon, stood united to win improvements to wages, benefits, and increased union power that will have positive impacts on patient care and employee safety and retention for years to come.
For Brittany King, a CT Imaging Specialist and bargaining committee member, the gains that she and her coworkers won will help her better care for her own health and improve the quality of care she provides.
“Working in healthcare, we always put our patients first. During my shift I personally fight for each and every one of my patients,” said King. “Now that we have won our contract, I will be able to see my own health providers and have medical procedures done without having to worry if I can afford it right now. I can focus on taking care of me, so that I can take care of my patients.”
Under their new 3-year contract, caregivers won:
- Strong yearly raises for all union members, and raises for employees in positions that were chronically underpaid. CT imaging techs, sterile processing techs, dietary workers, unit clerks, housekeepers, phlebotomists, and certified nursing assistants won pay increases that bring them closer to or match what employees in the same positions earn at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and Albany General Hospital.
- Better staffing incentives for harder-to-fill split, evening, night, weekend, and per diem shifts, which will help ensure there’s enough staff on nights and weekends.
- Lower caps on employee-only premiums: SEIU members secured lower employee-only premiums, which will put money back in the pockets of some members who were paying higher premiums than higher-paid workers at other Samaritan hospitals.
- An end to collections and garnishment on medical bills. In a bargaining survey, 42% of members who responded said they had avoided seeking medical care because they were afraid of the cost of care.
- Financial assistance for SEIU 49 members who qualify based on their income.
SEIU 49 represents 120 healthcare workers at North Lincoln Hospital, including imaging techs, phlebotomists, ER techs, pharmacy techs, sterile processing techs, respiratory therapists, CNAs, housekeepers, and more. The union also represents around 1,000 workers in the Samaritan system, and a majority of Samaritan Health is union.
SEIU 49 members approved their new contract during a ratification vote on May 1, 2019.