We won pay increases for employees across chapters in Nashville, Chattanooga and Oak Ridge this year. Chattanooga city employees won a step plan that we’ve been fighting for for nearly a decade. We worked with the Mayor’s office and city council to create a plan that addresses historical pay concerns by laying out yearly progress steps for pay progression. It gives employees credit for their time with the city. We deserve to be compensated for our dedication when employees put in years, or even decades, of work. This is only the first step toward winning one of the best step plans in the state. We’ve got momentum to carry into the new year to win even more.
Members from the Metro Nashville chapters organized to win 6% cost of living adjustments and step raises for eligible employees. This puts thousands of dollars in members’ pockets this year. COLAs and steps are never guaranteed. The mayor’s proposed budget had only given a 4% COLA, but more than 50 members mobilized throughout the public process to give public comment, meet with councilmembers, and send messages of support, which pressured the Council to bump the COLA up to 6%.
Our Metro Nashville Public School members are school support staff and paraprofessionals. We do some of the most important work in the city -- we care for our city’s kids. But we got left out of the full COLA and only got 4% this year. We will keep fighting to make sure all employees get the pay we deserve. We will keep the pressure on the Council and the School Board to fix this in the year ahead.
The Methodist Medical Center chapter negotiated some of the largest pay raises we’ve had in years, for both the Registered Nurse Unit and the Service and Technical Unit. We negotiated extra shift bonus pay that puts hundreds of thousands of dollars in members’ pockets. We negotiated a new pay structure for Surgical Technologists with pay gains, and sets New Grad Surgical technologists on a path to major pay increases over time. We also took the administration to arbitration related to short staffing and won! We showed that our collective bargaining agreement works, and when we stand together to enforce it, we win. The arbitrator reinforced MMC’s obligation to do all it can to adhere to our staffing ratios and to negotiate with the union in good faith to improve recruiting and retention across the hospital.
We didn’t win everything we hoped for in 2023, but we know we win nothing if we don’t organize. Our victories show that even in some of the most challenging conditions organizing together works.