200 union workers sign contract with Cascade Valley Hospital

ARLINGTON – The nearly 200 professional, technical, service and skilled maintenance caregivers at Cascade Valley Hospital have signed a new contract.

The previous one expired July of last year.

A news release from the union SEIU Healthcare 1199NW says the contract improves wages, increases staff cultural competence and provides job stability.

“Through our unity and actions, we were able to reach a contract agreement with management, and we know it makes improvements for our jobs and the care we give,” said Nancy Swanson, a PACS assistant in Radiology.

Highlights of the contract include:

•Cultural competency training for staff

•More stable hours from a new cap on how many hours staff can be sent home due to low census

•Across-the-board wage increases of at least 4 percent, plus additional raises based on longevity

•Newly designated time off for illness

Elvira Rosales, a certified nursing assistant, said: “CNAs are very happy about our wage increases, and for the job stability of our new low census 60-hour cap that reduces the number of hours we can be sent home and gives us a new ability to come to work once we reach our cap so that we have more stable hours.”

The contract means a greater investment in frontline care, which will reduce turnover, retain more-experienced caregivers and improve the quality of care, the union release says.

Julie Popper, a public relations specialist with the union, said the contract shows Cascade Valley Hospital is working to keep quality employees.

“Patients are getting great care right here in the community,” she said.

Popper added that patients always have the option to drive to Seattle for treatment. But this shows CVH wants experienced staff.

Workers “don’t have to quit and go to Seattle to make ends meet,” she said.

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