DALLAS -- Rebecca Valadez has helped clean Parkland hospital for five years.

'I've gotten a raise like three times,' she said, 'but it's just been like cents. No more than 25 cents.'

Valadez said she expected to be disciplined for some reason when she was called into her supervisor's office Wednesday morning. She's among the some 230 Parkland employees, mostly in housekeeping, pleasantly shocked to learn they are getting a significant pay raise.

Starting July 1, all full-time Parkland workers will make a minimum of $10.25 an hour, three dollars more than the federal minimum wage.

The money will be taken from the performance reward fund, previously reserved for Parkland executives.

'And that's how we will fund this annually,' said Jim Dunn, Parkland vice president of talent. 'We are hoping this will provide our lower-level employees a more equitable standard of living, and will also benefit our organization.'

The move stems from an initiative led by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

Dallas County already pays its full-time employees $10.25 an hour. Jenkins filed an official request last week with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott asking for a ruling on whether the county can require county contractors to pay the same $10.25 wage.

'My next goal is to talk to other municipalities and other governmental agencies about joining us in this effort,' Jenkins said. 'It's not right that a person works full time and is on food stamps and government assistance.'

Brittany Florence, who cleans floors at Parkland, will see her pay increase by a $1.50 an hour.

'I won't have to work as much overtime,' Florence said. 'I won't be as tired. I can save money and move into my own place now.'

Florence, 25, said when the pay raise goes into effect, it will be the first time she will earn a living wage.


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