CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The president of SEIU, Elsa Caballero says it took a year of bargaining for better pay for some employees and now progress has been made.
“We met one week and a couple of days later we were meeting again,” she says.
On the bargaining table is an increase in pay, and a proposal for a health and safety committee to address concerns during the pandemic says Caballero.
“We have to be willing to compromise in order to have both sides feel like this is an arrangement that works for both of us,” says Caballero.
April. 21st, an agreement was made.
“We’re all on the zoom call when they agreed to all we were asking for, we were just like wow,” says Sodexo hostess, Loraine Longoria.
Covering over 300 workers, Sodexo hostess, Lorraine Longoria says the new contract provides fair wage increases and bonuses, tuition reimbursement, loan repayment and paid family leave.
“Extra money that we worked hard for like pandemic pay that’s when people said thank you,” she says.
The new contract for Sodexo is raising wages 16% for lowest paid workers with the base rate increasing from 10.50 to 12.50 per hour.
The rest of the workers will receive a 7.25% increase over the life of the contract.
“So whether they are employed by HCA or employed by Sodexo they are all going to be able to get the increases that we bargained for with the hospital,” says Elsa Caballero.
Caballero says she hopes the union is able to raise everyone from the base rate to 15 dollars an hour an hour and there are different ways they will be able to do that.
As of right now, the terms of the new contract has gone into effect.
The new contract makes several key advancements for workers including:
- Gives workers a powerful voice on health and safety, and staffing
- Allows workers faced with a sick family member, newborn or newly adopted child, or newly placed child from foster care up to 80 hours of paid leave.
- Will make it easier for workers who want to go back to college with up to $5,300 College tuition reimbursement.
- Will help workers struggle with loans a chance to catch up, by providing $150 a month loan repayment.
- A fair wage increase of 6.75% raise over the life of the contract including a commitment to spend a total of 1% of total wages to raise wages for long-term workers earning less than new hires.
- Protects workers rights to speak out, protest and join the union.