HealthcareCedars-Sinai, union agree to three-year contract

Cedars-Sinai, union agree to three-year contract

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a union representing 2,000 workers reached a three-year contract agreement weeks after workers staged a five-day strike, the union announced Saturday.

Service Employees Union International-United Healthcare Workers West, members of which include certified nursing assistants, transporters, environmental services workers, plant operations workers, surgical technicians and food service technicians, said in a news release that the ratified contract includes the largest raises in its history with the not-for-profit Los Angeles hospital.

The collective bargaining agreement includes safety measures such as access to personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing, imposes average 17.5% pay increases by the end of the contract, elevates the minimum hourly wage to $21 by 2024 and guarantees health benefits, according to the SEIU-UHW.

“This was possible because we as a union stood together to advocate for the safety and well-being of healthcare workers and our patients,” Jose Sanchez, a lead transporter at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said in the news release.

Cedars-Sinai Health System President and CEO Thomas Priselac is pleased workers accepted the deal, he said in a statement.

“We remain dedicated to providing competitive compensation and benefits that truly reflect the professionalism, skill and commitment of all those who work at our organization,” Priselac said.

The SEIU-UHW contracts with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center expired March 31, 10 days after negotiations began. Workers went on strike in early May.

Tensions between workers and healthcare employers have been high throughout the pandemic, prompting numerous strikes and unionization campaigns.

Five thousand nurses at Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health of Palo Alto, California, went on strike in April over stalled contract negotiations. And more than 8,000 nurses and other employees of Sacramento, California-based Sutter Health held a one-day strike at 15 sites in April over staffing levels and safety concerns.

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