Mount Nittany workers vote on contract with hospital

Mount Nittany Medical Center workers have agreed to a new contract with the hospital.
Mount Nittany Medical Center workers have agreed to a new contract with the hospital. nmark@centredaily.com

Mount Nittany Medical Center workers have said yes to a new contract with the hospital.

After negotiators from the Service Employees International Union came to a tentative agreement with the hospital’s management on Tuesday, the approximately 900 employee members voted Thursday to accept the deal.

In a statement, the union did not give a specific number of employees voting for the contract, but said it was a “strong majority.”

“Our community needs good jobs, and MNMC plays a key role in that,” said maintenance worker Scott Liliedahl. “When health care workers come here to make this their career with jobs that allow them to support their families, our local economy grows.”

SEIU represents about half of the hospital’s 2,400 employees. The union says its members include nurses, dietary workers, environmental service and more.

The new contract includes a 3 percent increase in wages annually for the life of the three-year agreement.

Other key areas include staffing numbers, affordable health care, “secure retirement” and better educational benefits.

These were many of the same areas the union focused on when employees went on strike for five days in 2004.

“The education benefit is so important,” said Carralee Franzwa, certified surgical technologist, in a statement. “We all want to make sure health care workers have the opportunity to continue learning in this changing industry. And it helps keep more and more skilled workers right here in State College.”

“With the new contract ratified, the medical center looks forward to continuing to work with all employees toward our mission of making people healthier and our vision of becoming central Pennsylvania’s most trusted source for health care,” hospital director of marketing and communications Nichole Monica said.

The contract between the two sides expired June 30.

Mount Nittany Medical Center is the only hospital in Centre County. It is the primary or closest hospital for many portions of neighboring counties.