Negotiating late into the night on October 19th, nurses and healthcare professionals represented by the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) reached a tentative agreement with Temple University Health System.
The new three-year contract includes wage increases and improvements on staffing and job security, building on an already strong union contract. On October 25th, PASNAP members voted 98% to ratify the new agreement.
“The number one issue for the nurses was safe staffing”, said Maureen May, a Registered Nurse of 33 years and president of the nurses’ union at Temple. “The contract provides language that supports staffing initiatives, improves patient safety and holds management accountable to the union.”
“This agreement made huge strides toward nurses and health professionals gaining control over their working conditions,” said Jerry Silberman, PASNAP Staff Representative. “Too often contracts are only about money. In this case, the primary goal of the members was to improve working conditions. In this industry, that means better conditions for patients.”
The contract includes provisions to add full-time jobs, with benefits, in place of casual and non-benefited jobs. The union also won better experience-based compensation for the hospital’s technical and professional staff.
“We were seeing our department transition from a solid, full-time work force to a casual workforce, so we took action to change that,” said Lorenzo Glover, a veteran Respiratory Therapist who serves as president of the healthcare professionals union. “For the first time ever, we now have in place a system to convert those jobs to secure, full-time jobs with benefits. This, along with better pay for experience, represents a strong step forward for technical and professional staff.”
The contract contains wage increases of 6.75% over three years, with a majority of employees seeing 10% or more between annual increases and wage steps built into the contract.
“Temple University Hospital has a strong union,” said Patty Eakin, RN, PASNAP President. “The nurses and health professionals are continuing to build on that strength in order to improve conditions at the hospital — for patients, first and foremost, and also for staff. That’s important since Temple plays such a vital role in our community.”
PASNAP represents 8,300 nurses and health professionals throughout Pennsylvania. The union has grown rapidly as more nurses and direct caregivers have sought a stronger voice to advocate for patients.