A Closer Look is a new publication aimed to provide a deeper look into some of the issues important to Swedish and our employees. As Swedish and SEIU are involved in contract negotiations around wages, benefits and other issues for RNs, technical staff and service workers, it is important to provide more in-depth information about some of the issues and topics that surface as a result of negotiations.
Swedish, along with other healthcare organizations, is facing some of the toughest economic times in recent history. The perfect storm of the recession and healthcare reform have redefined our financial environment and for the foreseeable future, it will be our “New Normal.” As a result, Swedish must find $200 million in savings over the next three years. The business decisions we will make, as well as our SEIU contract proposals across all areas, reflect this “New Normal” and its impact on our ability to remain financially stable.
Recently, SEIU and Valley Medical Center completed their contract negotiations and there has been a lot of talk about this contract, so we are devoting this edition of A Closer Look to the Valley contract.
First, we congratulate Valley and SEIU for coming to an agreement on a new contract so quickly. These negotiations are never easy and it is a testament to all parties involved. The new contract includes wage increases for employees, while keeping their generous healthcare coverage and retirement contributions the same.
Comparing Valley to Swedish: Not apples to apples
There is a substantial difference between Valley and Swedish. Valley is in a Public Hospital District, which means it is partially supported by taxpayers in that district. In fact, Valley receives 5.1% of its operating revenue or $19 million a year from taxpayers!
If Swedish also received 5.1% of its revenue from taxpayers, it would equate to $81 million annually, which would more than cover the $200 million in savings we must find in the next three years.
We need to work with SEIU to identify their fair share of the $200 million savings we need to achieve over the next three years to ensure a viable financial future for Swedish.
What is SEIU's fair share?
Swedish has put forth a number of ideas for the Union to consider as we seek an outcome that is fair for all who rely on Swedish. Despite economic and industry challenges, Swedish is not proposing wage cuts and remains committed to being a leader in employee wages and benefits.
Some of the ideas Swedish presented to the Union to save $200 million include:
- Reducing Healthcare Costs: Ideas include establishing a wellness program, incentivizing healthy behaviors; increasing healthcare cost sharing and adjusting our medical plan design to further reduce healthcare costs while ensuring the health and well being of our employees.
- Freezing the Pension: The pension is a large and unpredictable expense and with only about a quarter of Swedish employees actively able to participate in the pension program, it is not fair.
Comments or feedback?
For more information about contract negotiations, check Negotiation News or here at www.swedish.org/negotiationsnews. We appreciate hearing from you even if you have a different point of view. Please feel free to submit questions or feedback to email@example.com or www.swedish.org/negotiationsnews.