Mercy announced Thursday (Aug. 19) an $18 million annual cost increase to raise the starting wage and minimum wage for all workers to $15 per hour. The St. Louis-based health system said 6,000 employees in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma will see the raise effective Sept. 19 to be reflected in the Oct. 8 paycheck.
“This decision is rooted in our values and promotes the common good for our co-workers and the communities where they serve,” said Lynn Britton, Mercy president and CEO. “We decided to make the transition immediately, rather than in stages, because this critical decision can positively affect so many lives and families.”
Some of the more than 6,000 co-workers who will receive an increase include housekeepers, food service, transportation and pharmacy, medical and lab technicians, all of whom the hospital company said are critical to providing care and health care service.
Mercy serves a geographical area that has a significant percentage of jobs under $15 an hour, including Arkansas. The percentage of jobs under $15 an hour is 47.4% in Arkansas, 43.8% in Oklahoma, and 41.6% in Missouri.
In addition to raising wages of co-workers making less than $15 an hour, Mercy said it will continue to review co-worker pay across all communities and job descriptions and adjust accordingly.
The Mercy system has more than 40 acute care, managed and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, convenient urgent care locations, imaging centers and pharmacies. Mercy has a large footprint in Northwest Arkansas and the Fort Smith metro.
Mercy has 900 physician practices and outpatient facilities, more than 4,000 Mercy Clinic physicians and advanced practitioners and 40,000-plus employees in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.