July 1, 2005

Hospital Workers Settle All But One Contract As June 30 Strike Deadline Passes

PHILADELPHIA, July 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Henry Nicholas, President of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, and its local affiliate District 1199C, announced today that contract negotiations covering more than 50 contracts with Delaware Valley hospitals and health care institutions were successfully concluded at all but one facility. Contract settlements covering some 10,000 area health care workers were reached by the deadline of midnight on June 30, with the only facility without a contract being the Golden Slipper Uptown Home for the Aged, where approximately 160 District 1199C members went on strike at 12:01 a.m. this morning.

The key issues in the contract talks were pensions, health and welfare benefits, and wages. "It is unfortunate," Nicholas said, "that health care costs have risen to the point where it was necessary to get 36% of gross payroll to maintain health and welfare benefits for our membership. But that number was what we needed, and that was what we got. The U.S. system of providing health care coverage is employer-based. Employers must pay their fair share, and these employers have recognized that." The 36% employer contribution represents a ten percent increase in health care costs over five years.

The contracts also include a 15% wage increase over five years and an employer contribution to the Union's Pension Fund of 7.56% of gross payroll over the five-year life of the contract.

Among the institutions where contracts expired at midnight are Tenet Health System/Hahnemann University, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital and Girard Medical Center, Inglis House and the Golden Slipper Uptown Home.

"These negotiations have in large measure been about providing quality health care benefits for the workers who provide quality care for the patients and residents in the health care institutions in the Delaware Valley," Nicholas said. "The Union has been fighting for quality care for the patients in health care facilities where 1199ers work and for health benefits for the workers who care for those patients. The two issues go hand in hand," Nicholas added.

National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees District 1199C

CONTACT: Henry Nicholas, National Union of Hospital and Health CareEmployees District 1199C, +1-215-735-1300