CROSBY -- Following months of negotiations, a one-day strike authorization vote and a tentative agreement reached Oct. 28, members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center have voted to ratify a new three-year contract.
Three units voted on the contract, with one unit ratifying with over 90% approval and the other two with over 70% approval, the union reported in a news release late Thursday night.
The bargaining team for SEIU Healthcare Minnesota noted the contract included the best wage increases in years (including back pay at new rates), holiday pay, increased uniform allowances and call pay, full-time benefits for .9 full-time employee members starting next year, and much more. While not getting everything the team wanted or felt they deserved, the bargaining committee noted that solidarity and the willingness to strike helped land the final deal.
Kathy Meyer, a cook at CRMC for 15 years, executive board member of SEIU and member of the bargaining team, shared her feelings on the new contract.
"SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members are proud of the work we do every single day to make CRMC the quality healthcare facility that it is. We know that as the front line staff of CRMC, our work is what most directly impacts our patients and community, so we are proud that we fought so hard to make sure our work is valued," Meyer stated in a newsletter. "We are proud of what we won, even if it wasn't everything we wanted and felt we deserved. I am proud of the progress we made and I look forward to continuing the work to ensure CRMC is the best it can be for staff, patients and our whole community."
“We greatly respect and value our employees who deliver on our mission every day,” CRMC CEO Kyle Bauer stated in a news release. “This agreement is a testament to the dedication, compassion and skill our employees bring to work every day. We will continue to focus on our most important work—offering the best quality of care for our patients and residents.”
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents nearly 600 healthcare workers working at the hospital, nursing home, assisted living center and the ambulance crew. SEIU members perform nearly every job at CRMC except Registered Nurse, including: Radiologic Technologists, Medical Lab Techs, Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Surgical Techs, Paramedics, EMTs, Sterile Processing workers, Skilled Maintenance workers- carpenters/electricians, Business Office Clerical workers, Admissions, Environmental Services, Dietary and more.
The agreement provides guaranteed annual pay increases of 2% each year and additional market increases for those identified as lower to market in year one of the contract. The agreement will also maintain competitive employee benefits including the current health insurance offerings and retirement plan through CRMC.
The new contract takes effect once signed by all parties. Workers had been without a contract since Oct. 1.