Over the last two months, members of SEIU District 1199 at Willow Tree Healthcare in Charles Town, West Virginia, have been working together in unity to bargain a new contract. These health care workers care a great deal about their work and made real gains that will improve pay, staff retention, and quality care.
Jason Shriver, an SEIU District 1199 and bargaining committee member, said about the negotiations: “By standing together we were able to secure wage increases, better seniority, and benefits.” Not only that, they “were able to fight off subcontracting and secure our unit as one over the next 3 years.”
The contract they negotiated includes the following wage increases:
• CNA’s will get a $2.00/hr wage increase in year 1 – a 15.4% increase
• LPN’s will get a $1.00/hr wage increase in year 1 – a 4.4% increase
• Dietary, Housekeeping, Laundry, and Maintenance in year 1 – 3.5% increase
• Everyone will get a 2.75% wage increase in years 2 and 3
Workers also won better benefits, stronger contract language, and improved workplace protections. For example:
• Mandation: it was negotiated that workers can now only be mandated 2 times within a period of 30 days.
• Bereavement Leave: the new contract adds one additional day of leave for bereavement of an aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew.
• Vacation Requests: under the contract, vacation requests can be submitted at any time before a work schedule is posted.
• Uniforms: the new contract also includes that additional work uniforms will now be provided.
• Contract Language: enhanced contract language has been added relating to the grievance process and other workplace issues.
• On Call Improvement: going forward, if a member is called into work and arrives within an hour and half, they will be paid from the start of the shift.
The health care workers at the Willow Tree Healthcare Center show the power of collective bargaining and working together as a union. With these improvements, they will be well prepared to continue the work they do each day on behalf of those they serve.