Healthcare workers at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center (GSRMC) and Albany General Hospital (AGH) who are members of SEIU Local 49 voted overwhelmingly to approve a settlement with Samaritan management on new Union contracts. The nearly 600 workers—including ER Techs, Anesthesia Techs, certified nursing assistants, and patient access representatives, housekeepers and dietary staff—were united in their commitment to raise staffing and safety standards, improve healthcare for patients and employees, increase wages, and expand education funding.
Caregivers advocated for working conditions and pay that they believe will improve the staffing needed to provide quality patient care and help keep the community safe. Workers focused on gains that would help recruit quality, compassionate caregivers, and retain highly skilled and experienced staff, seeking recognition for their dedication and commitment to the community. In doing so, caregivers created pathways to higher pay and respect for longevity at Samaritan during a time when the healthcare field is seeing a shortage in workers due to exhaustion and turnover.
“We worked really hard to gain better wages and the respect we deserve as frontline healthcare workers,” said Dafne DeSautel, a CNA2 at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. “Our new contract helps bring us in-line with other healthcare employers in Oregon. I’m hopeful that this will help us attract and keep good staff at our hospital so we can protect our patients and be better supported.”
Samaritan healthcare workers won wage increases that reflect the value of their contributions to our communities. At Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, the average wage increase over the life of the contract is 18% (eighteen percent), and at Albany General Hospital it is 23% (twenty three percent). Many Caregivers will see a $2 to $3 an hour raise in pay immediately. Caregivers also won on wage equity in the Valley so that caregivers working in Albany & Corvallis will now earn equal pay.
Healthcare workers also spoke up to reduce the high costs of healthcare for employees at Samaritan Health and made some progress. Union members agreed to a ground-breaking premium subsidy program for employees and their families and have a commitment from management to keep working to find solutions to make healthcare more affordable.
“I’m proud that we bargained to put a limit on how much management can increase our healthcare premiums,” said Paige Bond, a CNA2 at Albany General Hospital. “Having healthcare benefits that we can afford to use is a major issue for many of us, and our new premium subsidy will be a big help for a lot of families who have been putting off care because of the cost.”
Samaritan healthcare workers remained dedicated to their communities in providing quality patient care throughout the COVID pandemic, placing themselves and their families at risk of contracting the deadly disease. Workers united to win a strong contract to address key priorities for fair and competitive wage increases, keeping healthcare costs contained, and Union members will continue to advocate for protections against COVID and hazard pay for their dangerous work.