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Proposed contract gives raises to union workers at hospitals

Fri., Aug. 13, 2010

Unionized health care workers will continue voting today on a new contract that would award pay raises of at least 3 percent at Deaconess Medical Center and Valley Hospital and Medical Center.

Union and hospital negotiators reached a three-year deal early Wednesday morning, averting a one-day strike.

If approved, the contract would cover 950 employees.

Chris Barton, secretary-treasurer of Service Employees International Union Local 1199NW, called the agreement a breakthrough that both sides hope can help keep wages competitive with rival hospitals and mend a frayed relationship.

Some employees will receive raises of 8 percent – depending on their skill set.

Barton said the contract includes compromises on health care and retirement benefits. Union benefits will mirror those of other employees at the hospital, which the workers said were unilaterally imposed rather than bargained.

The issue was among a set of unfair labor complaints the union had filed against the hospitals.

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