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Allegheny Health Network increasing minimum wage to $15

| Friday, May 18, 2018, 7:00 a.m.
Allegheny General Hospital, part of Allegheny Health Network, in Pittsburgh's North Side.
Allegheny General Hospital, part of Allegheny Health Network, in Pittsburgh's North Side.

Allegheny Health Network will increase its employees' minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2021 to remain competitive for workers, officials announced Friday.

The announcement notes that the North Side-based eight-hospital network currently employs about 19,000 people and recently implemented a 401K retirement savings plan with a percentage match in contributions from AHN. The decision to increase wages "reflects the network's ongoing assessment of the market and commitment to providing a highly-competitive compensation and benefits packages for employees at every level," according to the announcement.

"We are excited to reward our talented and dedicated employees for the critical roles they play in our success and for the exceptional care and services they provide to our patients and the community," said Melissa Ferraro, senior vice president for Human Resources, in a statement.

Allegheny Health Network spokesman Dan Laurent said the pay increases will be done gradually over the next three years and some will be tied into collective bargaining agreements for union employees. He said the changes affect both union and non-union employees.

"We have begun our efforts to implement this increase and will continue with a gradual path to completion through 2021," he said. "This is a significant investment in our employees and we are implementing this change carefully and responsibly as part of our overall operational and financial plan for the network."

Laurent couldn't provide specific numbers on how many employees this will affect at each hospital, but did say the "greatest impact" will be on frontline employees such as environmental services, dietary services and nursing assistants.

A union representative from Service Employees International Union, which represents employees at Allegheny Valley Hospital, could not be reached.

Pittsburgh City Councilman Ricky Burgess chaired a hospital wage review committee that recommended a $15 minimum wage for hospital service workers in 2015; he praised AHN's move in that direction.

"We think they are following the trend of responsible employers," Burgess said. "We believe the wage review committee highlighted the need for such a commitment to workers, and we're glad the area health employers are following suit."

AHN's biggest rival, UPMC, announced in 2016 that it would aim for a $15-per-hour minimum wage by 2019.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724 836 6660, or on Twitter @msantoni.

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