There is a reason why the nurses of Sacred Heart Medical Center were on the streets in protest. Although The Spokesman-Review reported Sacred Heart nurses were offered an “average pay raise of 4.25 percent,” there is much more to the story.
Sacred Heart nurses were offered cost-of-living raises of 1.25 percent, 1 percent, and 1 percent annually for three years. Because nurses are good at math, we know this equals 3.25 percent, not 4.25 percent. This doesn’t even come close to the rate of inflation, currently around 3 percent annually, or 9 percent over three years.
Not only is Sacred Heart offering the nurses a wage increase much less than in inflation, they actually want to raise deductibles, increase co-pays and premiums by such margins that what we are being offered is actually a pay cut that for some could be up to 10 percent to 15 percent of their income.
Why would a nonprofit Catholic hospital that made $50 million last year alone treat their nurses this way? Perhaps The Spokesman-Review could ask Providence’s Chief Executive Officer John Koster, whose compensation rose from $3.1 million in 2010 to $6.4 million in 2011. Making that kind of money, he’s sure to have all the answers.