Chambersburg Hospital and the health care professionals working there ratified a new contract on Monday that calls for pay raises and employee contributions to health insurance.
“Workers will begin paying for their health care benefits, but receive wage increases and a bonus to cover those costs,” according to a news release from the union, SEIU Healthcare PA.
The average worker will see raises of 10 percent over the four years of the agreement. Each worker will receive at least a $6,000 pay increase beyond his or her health insurance costs over the four years, the news release stated.
The new contract is effective immediately and expires June 30, 2016, hospital officials said in a news release.
Chambersburg Hospital is owned and operated by the Summit Health system.
“We’re very pleased that an agreement has been reached. We now have a contract in place that will allow Chambersburg Hospital to face the challenges of uncertainty in the health care industry, while allowing the hospital to continue offering highly competitive pay and benefits,” Summit Health President and CEO Norman Epstein said in the hospital’s news release.
More than 1,300 nurses and other health care workers ratified the contract with the hospital Monday night.
The union news release quoted Michele Hill, a medical transcriptionist who has been working at the hospital for 32 years.
“We are thrilled that we were able to work together with the hospital and find something that works for all of us. We needed to find solutions that maintain quality care and quality jobs for Chambersburg – and we’ve done that today,” Hill said.
Union officials said the wage scale will continue to recruit and retain quality health care workers. They said the contract also makes improvements to scheduling, which allows for a better work/home life balance and helps retain workers, while also preventing sick time and burnout.
“There is also a renewed commitment to collaborate on solving day-to-day workplace issues between labor and management, which makes the hospital a better place for workers and patients,” the union news release stated.
“We’re all happy to be able to move forward and do what we do best — provide excellent health care,” Monica Burkholder, physical medicine aide, said in the union news release.
Epstein said the “collective focus” will now turn to the new addition at Chambersburg Hospital. That project will add 171 private patient rooms and an expanded heart catheterization suite by December.
Hundreds of employees joined in a rally last week on the steps of the Franklin County Courthouse in Chambersburg, protesting Summit Health’s previous offers. They held signs, chanted and listened to speeches by union representatives and fellow employees.
— Jennifer Fitch