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SEIU, Consulate Health Care reach contract deal

| Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, 12:06 a.m.

Consulate Health Care workers in Indiana Township unanimously ratified a new three-year contract on Saturday, according to Service Employees International Union.

The labor contract for nurses along with laundry, dietary and maintenance workers covered by SEIU Health Care Pennsylvania expired on Sept. 5. The union represents 90 workers at the facility.

The contract settlement averted a one-day strike planned by workers for Monday.

“It came down to the wire on Friday, and we were prepared to strike. But they came in with their final offer, and the committee agreed to pull the strike notice,” said Jennifer Monaghan of Tarentum, a member of the bargaining committee and a licensed practical nurse at Consulate.

Neither the union nor the company provided salary details.

“We are pleased that an agreement has been reached,” said Jennifer L. Trapp, Consulate vice president of corporate communications. “We look forward to moving past these negotiations and continuing to focus on our most important objective — the care of our patients and employees.”

Earlier, the union bucked the company's call for increased employee contributions to health care insurance, among other issues.

Initially, Consulate proposed to increase health insurance premiums by about $60 for an individual and $150 for a family per month, according to a union official.

“We got to keep health insurance and benefit contributions the same,” Monaghan said. The company will continue to pay 80 percent of health care insurance premiums as employees pay 20 percent.

Additionally, workers emerged with contract language that prohibits mandatory overtime and secures overtime pay for work in excess of 40 hours per week.

“The biggest thing is that we were able to maintain health insurance benefit and pensions, which they left alone,” she said.

Monaghan would not release the number of members who voted on Saturday but said that the vote was unanimous among them.

Consulate owns and operates more than 200 facilities in more than 22 states.

Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4691 or mthomas@tribweb.com.

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