Thousands of Twin Cities hospital workers have secured a significant pay raise, as Minneapolis-based Allina Health is setting a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
The Minnesota Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has announced a new three-year contract between the workers it represents and the healthcare giant, which operates eight hospitals in the metro region.
The deal also includes a number of additional benefits and protections for Allina's 3,000 metro-area workers.
SEIU called the new minimum wage a "landmark increase," as it comes at a time when workers across the country are staging protests seeking better pay and benefits.
Just last month, hundreds of union members held demonstrations outside Allina hospitals in opposition of job cuts and working conditions, the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal reports.
Service worker pay is also a top-line issue amongst Minnesota lawmakers.
In March, Governor Mark Dayton urged the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport to adjust its workers' pay to at least $10 an hour.
"The airline industry can afford it," the governor said.
This followed a recent bump in the state minimum wage – lawmakers passed a bill last year raising it to $8 per hour. It will reach $9.50 next year, one of the highest in the nation.
What's next for Allina employees?
Aside from the $15 minimum wage, workers have a host of new benefits coming their way
According to SEIU's release, union members can expect "employment security protections," as well as additional health and safety protections.
The deal also provides a "wage increase in every year of the contract for all members."
Allina will also increase its contributions toward pension plans, and the company's tuition reimbursement program will also see a boost – 25 percent, according to SEIU's announcement.
Allina operates more than 90 medical clinics and 13 hospitals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, the company's website says.