Salinas Valley Memorial workers ratify contract with strong raises and better educational benefits

NewsNovember 23, 2021

After four months of intense negotiations and actions, 887 NUHW members at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital won a four-year contract with substantial wage increases and other major concessions. 

Workers voted 97 percent in favor of the new agreement that includes a 16% wage increase and a $500 bonus for all members and improved education benefits as well as an expanded incentive program.

“I think we did really well compared with what the hospital put across the table,” said chief steward Esther Fierros-Nunez. “Once we sent out the information about the raises and the health insurance and the outsourcing, which a lot of our members were really worried about, everybody was really happy with what we came out with in the end.”

“Even though we were bargaining for a long time and it was very difficult, it’s a very positive ending,” she added. 

The newly-ratified contract includes::

  • 3.75 percent salary increase for all employees (except for certain job classifications) upon ratification
  • 3 percent raises for all employees on August 8, 2022
  • 3 percent wage hikes for all workers on August 7, 2023
  • 3.25 percent raises for all employees on August 5, 2024
  • 3 percent wage increase for all workers on August 4, 2025

Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital also agreed to:

  • Provide a pay adjustment for nurse aides in addition to the 3.75 percent wage increase effective at the same time
  • Pay a 4 percent differential to physical and occupational therapists, and speech pathologists who maintain competency and work in the NICU four or more hours in their shift
  • Reimburse Cath lab techs III, clinical pharmacists and respiratory care practitioners up to $1,000 for attendance at conferences
  • Post the specific number of available vacation times in each department throughout the year in January, which the final vacation scheduled posted by March 1

However, in the new contract there will be increases to employee contributions for health and dental insurance. Employee contributions per pay period for health insurance will rise to $30 for an employee with one dependent and to $60 for an employee with two or more dependents, effective on January 1, 2022.

Similarly, employee contributions per pay period for dental insurance will go up to $5 for employees with one dependent and to $10 for employees with two or more dependents, effective January 1, 2022. Also, the annual dental benefit will increase from $2,000 to $2,500 maximum per person per year, and there will be a new $50 deductible per person per year.

The new agreement extends from August 1, 2021 to July 31, 2026 and also adds nine new members.