CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — There's a staff of 398 employees at Corpus Christi Medical Center represented by the Service Employees International Union. For a year they have been bargaining for better pay.
“There's a wage inequity that new people that get hired are getting paid more money than the older employees,” says SEIU Texas Field Coordinator, Adelina Gonzales.
Working an average of 36 to 40 hours a week, certified nursing assistant, Daniel Rodriguez says he's noticed the difference in pay between new hires and those who have been at the hospital for year.
Rodriguez is on his 6th year at the hospital.
“On the low part, when others, new CNA's were getting paid for working in advance,” says Rodriguez.
Another member of the SEIU, Virginia Aguirre works at the hospital through a contract with Sodexo, she says her paycheck causes financial insecurity.
“For me it meant I had to move in with my sister because I had more expenses this year,” says Aguirre.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology living wage calculator says two parents with two kids living in Nueces county each need to make $18.38 per hour to make what is considered a living wage. For those people making less than that it can be challenging. Something Adelina Gonzales says she has heard before.
“He said that he lives on his grandparent's property because he can't afford to live by himself,” she says.
The SEIU says it recently received a proposal for a market adjustment equity at the bargaining table to take a look at the starting wage for each worker.
The Service Employees International Union is able to educate all the new employees when they begin and if they have questions a representative should always be present.
The full statement from Corpus Christi Medical Center:
"Corpus Christi Medical Center is committed to helping our colleagues learn, grow and enjoy a rewarding career. We value our colleagues and the work they do to care for the community. Overall, we strive to compensate everyone in our organization for their work in a way that is fair and in line with others in similar jobs in the area. We offer competitive benefits packages including expanded family leave benefits, tuition reimbursement, student loan assistance, dependent scholarship program, financial wellness coaching and opportunities for career advancement.
We are currently in contract negotiations with the union and remain focused on providing an inclusive, fair and respectful work environment for our colleagues to continue saving lives and caring for the community."