5-day strike averted at HCA facilities in California

Members of Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West have reached a contract settlement with management, averting a five-day strike that was scheduled to begin May 22 at five HCA Healthcare facilities in California.

Both sides reached the contract settlement May 18, according to a union news release. 

The three-year contract settlement was reached by about 3,000 workers at HCA's Good Samaritan Hospital and its Regional Medical Center in San Jose; Los Robles Medical Center in Thousand Oaks; West Hills Hospital; and Riverside Community Hospital. Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA's website states that it operates 182 hospitals and more than 2,300 care sites in 20 states and the United Kingdom.

According to the union, the settlement at the five HCA facilities includes 15 percent raises over the life of the contract and protects healthcare and education benefits for workers.

"Healthcare workers are still dealing with trauma and burnout from the pandemic, and we've watched too many of our colleagues leave for better-paying jobs with less stress," Xochitl Gonzalez, a patient care technician and union leader at Los Robles Medical Center, said in the union release. "Reaching this agreement wasn’t easy but we stood together to advocate for worker and patient safety, improved staffing levels, and fair wages and benefits that reflect the vital work we do everyday."

HCA Healthcare Far West Division spokesperson Antonio Castelan said in a statement shared with Becker's: "We have been in productive negotiations for more than three months and are pleased to have reached an agreement."

He also thanked communities "for their ongoing support as we prepared to serve our patients had the union conducted a strike. We are fortunate that locally and nationally, our organization is able to draw upon its strength, its partners and colleagues across the country to support these five hospitals and communities."

The agreement must be approved by union members before it is final. The ratification vote is scheduled for later in May.

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