Ahead of Bargaining a New Contract, Community Allies commit their Support for SLUH Workers and Other Healthcare Workers in their Fight for Better Wages, and to Strengthen the Healthcare Workforce to Improve Quality Care for All Families
(January 12, 2016, St. Louis, MO) – Hours before President Obama comments on the national economy in his State of the Union address, dozens of community allies and St. Louis University Hospital workers held a rally today outside St. Louis University Hospital to launch their own groundbreaking economic initiative, the Fight for $15 and 15% campaign to support higher standards for healthcare workers within the region and across the country.
St. Louis CBS 4: Community Leaders Kick Off Fight for $15 with Workers at St. Louis Univ. Hospital
The Service Employees International Union plans to seek a wage increase as the labor union prepares for its first contract negotiations with St. Louis University Hospital’s new owner, SSM Health.
A handful of SEIU members petitioned outside St. Louis University Hospital on Tuesday afternoon calling for the minimum wage to be at least $15 per hour and 15 percent annual wage increases over the duration of the expected three-year contract.
SEIU represents about 650 nonclinical workers in roles such as food service and housekeeping, Lenny Jones, director of the Kansas and Missouri SEIU health care division, told the Post-Dispatch on Tuesday. …
The current contract is set to expire at the end of March. That contract had been negotiated between SEIU and the previous hospital owner, Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. The hospital was acquired by SSM Health last year.
Caprice Nevils, a longtime employee who is also on the bargaining committee, said the desired increases are fair.
“We get raises every year but I feel that the $15 an hour would be better. I think that move would help everybody out. I think it’s fair that we get it because we’re working hard.”
The joint effort between Jobs with Justice, Fight for 15, and SLUH workers is aimed at making a living wage a reality for broad swaths of the regional economy, including both the restaurant and healthcare sectors. With SLUH workers set to begin contract negotiations on Wednesday, workers today proposed their $15/15% platform for the new contract: a $15 wage floor for workers who currently make under that amount and 15% across-the-board raises for all workers over the life of the contract.
“We are looking forward to having a constructive dialogue with SSM Health about how to invest in our healthcare workforce by providing fair wages to all hospital workers,” said Caprice Nevils, a patient care partner at SLUH. “But we won’t accept excuses. The truth is that we can increase the wages of hospital workers, at SLUH and across the industry. And by paying workers the fair wages we have earned, starting at $15 an hour as a wage floor, we improve our local economy and community.”
On Wednesday, SLUH workers will enter into contract negotiations with SSM Health. SSM Health acquired SLUH in 2014, becoming the second largest health system in Missouri through the acquisition.