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Hospital Contract OK'd

Posted: February 28, 2008 12:52 a.m.
Updated: April 30, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 
After working without a contract for nearly a month, the union nursing assistants, technicians and clerks at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital accepted the hospital's latest proposal in a close vote Wednesday night.

"There's a whole lot of frustration, but people felt that overall it was an offer they could live with," said Leanna Noble, a representative of the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America union.

The contract affects more than 500 vocational nurses, nursing assistants, technicians, clerks and other support positions at Newhall Memorial.

The new three-year contract includes wage increases, more time off, health insurance and bonuses for outstanding employees. Union members had rejected the contract on Feb. 7 largely because the base wage increases of 3.25 percent didn't match the increased cost of living, Noble said.

Mark Puleo, the hospital's chief human resources officer, has said that the increase is more than the 3.2 percent cost of living increase reported by the Department of Labor. He said the wages are based on merit and outstanding employees could potentially see a wage increase of 5.75 percent.

"We're pleased that the employees have recognized that the contract offered during the negotiations is mutually beneficial to both the employees and the hospital," Puleo said Wednesday. "The hospital is encouraged by the feedback it has received by many of our employees who has expressed their appreciation for the manner in which the hospital recognizes its highest performers."

The new contract contains the same wage increases as proposed Feb. 7, but the new contract did include two "significant improvements," Noble said.

The hospital added the option for union members to join the Patient Classification Committee, a hospital committee responsible for staffing issues and issues related to patient care.

The economic elements of the new contract, including the raises, will be given retroactively to Jan. 31.

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