Whidbey General Hospital board OK’s pay hike for union

Food service and clerical workers at Whidbey General Hospital got an early Christmas present this year.

They are receiving a small pay increase thanks to a new three-year contract the Whidbey General Hospital Board of Commissioners approved during their December meeting.

Chief Operating Officer Hank Hanigan rattled off some details of the contract between the hospital and the approximately 190 employees represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. That union represents the hospital’s food service and clerical workers along with engineers and environmental technicians.

The workers will receive a 0.75 percent increase the first year of the contract, a 0.5 percent increase the second year and a 0.75 percent increase the third year, Hanigan said during the meeting. The pay raise for the first year is retroactive to July, 2013, when the previous contract expired.

A representative from the UFCW union couldn’t be reached for comment.

During the meeting Hanigan highlighted several other details of the contract.

In addition to the pay increase, employees will be compensated if they work through their breaks.

There is language in the new contract that if an employee works consecutive weekends in unexpected situations outside their normal scheduled shifts, then they will be paid time and a half. If they are required to work on their day off, they will be paid a minimum of two hours.

The new contract also allows for employees to choose to work shifts that may stretch to 10, 12, and 16 hours in length.

The contract will also require staff to re-evaluate the number of clerical groups classified in the document. Hanigan said the review will be thorough and could explore increasing or reducing the number of groups.

The language in the contract was settled in September and both sides were reviewing the documents in the months leading up to the hospital board’s approval.

Board members Ron Wallin, Anne Tarrant, Nancy Fey and Grethe Cammermeyer approved the contract.

Commissioner Georgia Gardner of Coupeville was not present.