Hospitals and unions: 13 recent conflicts, agreements

The following is a roundup of recent events pertaining to hospital-union relationships, including strikes, legal battles, rallies and new contract agreements. All events were reported since Jan. 13, beginning with the most recent.

1. Natchaug Hospital employees protest proposed plan to cut pensions
Roughly 40 hospital employees at Mansfield Center, Conn.-based Natchaug Hospital protested Feb. 15 outside the facility, according to a Daily Campus report. The employees were protesting the hospital's proposed plan to drop employee pensions in favor of a 401(k) plan.

2. Tri-City Medical Center wants union petition for executive compensation cap invalidated: 4 things to know
Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside, Calif., is fighting back against a union petition that seeks to cap its annual executive compensation, according to a report from The San Diego Union-Tribune. The petition is backed by Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, which represents about 800 service workers at Tri-City Medical Center. But the medical center wants a judge to invalidate the petition, which seeks to cap its total annual executive compensation at $250,000 per person.

3. Union suit against Kaiser takeover of Maui hospitals dismissed: 4 things to know
A federal judge threw out a union lawsuit Feb. 9 that could have been a potential roadblock for Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente to manage the three state-owned hospitals in Maui County, beginning July 1, according to a report from The Maui News. The lawsuit was filed by the United Public Workers.

4. Keck Hospital of USC workers to go on strike
Nearly 1,000 technicians and other workers at Los Angeles-based Keck Hospital of USC were scheduled to go on strike Feb. 10, according to a North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch report. The workers, part of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, are slated to take part in a one-day strike, according to the report. The hospital and workers have butted heads over salaries and benefits.

5. Washington Hospital, union reach tentative agreement: 3 things to know
Employees at Washington (Pa.) Hospital, represented by the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania, reached a tentative contract agreement with management on Feb. 8, according to the Observer-Reporter. The agreement covers about 400 hospital workers, including the maintenance, housekeeping and dietary units, plus unit secretaries. Service workers at the hospital had voted Feb. 2 to send a strike notice to management if the two sides couldn't reach an agreement, according to a WPXI report.

6. Kindred Hospital Westminster nurses ratify contract: 3 things to know
Nurses at Kindred Hospital Westminster (Calif.), part of Louisville, Ky.-based Kindred Healthcare, earlier this month ratified a union contract that includes raises, according to an Orange County Register report. The three-year contract, which was negotiated by the California Nurses Association, covers 150 registered nurses at KHW.

7. NLRB supports RNs fired after attempting unionization: 5 things to know
The National Labor Relations Board has found merit in allegations by two nurses who claim Pasadena, Calif.-based Huntington Hospital let them go for their unionization efforts, the independent federal agency said, according to a San Gabriel Valley Tribune report. As of Feb. 5, the labor board had not yet filed a formal complaint, and settlement discussions were still being pursued.

8. Nashoba Valley Medical Center cuts staff, union protests: 6 things to know
Nurses at Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, Mass., represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, delivered a petition to Sal Perla, president of NVMC, Jan. 26 protesting the elimination of two nurse full-time equivalent positions in the hospital's emergency room, according to a Nashoba Valley Voice report.

9. Union wants Calif. AG to reject St. Joseph Health's planned merger: 5 things to know
National Nurses United is urging California Attorney General Kamala Harris to reject the proposed merger of two Catholic health systems: Renton, Wash.-based Providence Health & Services and Irvine, Calif.-based St. Joseph Health System. NNU, which represents thousands of Providence and St. Joseph registered nurses in California, believes the planned merger could have a major impact on the cost, quality and availability of critical hospital services.

10. Minnesota nurses ratify contract with wage increases: 3 things to know
Nurses at five Minneapolis-St. Paul hospital systems, represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association, ratified a three-year contract agreement that includes across-the-board wage increases, according to a Star Tribune report. The contract affects 7,000 nurses at the following organizations:

11. Union endorses Holy Cross Hospital tax levy proposal: 4 things to know
Local 1199, the union that represents about 175 workers at Taos (N.M.) Health Systems, endorsed a proposal by Holy Cross Hospital in Taos for Taos County to increase property taxes to help pay for hospital facilities and services, according to a report from The Taos News. The hospital is asking for a tax that would cost property owners approximately $33 per year while the tax is in effect for every $100,000 of net taxable property value, according to the report.

12. Kadlec Regional, nurses reach tentative contract agreement: 3 things to know Richland, Wash.-based Kadlec Regional Medical Center management and its nurses, represented by the Washington State Nurses Association, on Jan. 13 reached a tentative contract agreement, according to a Tri-City Herald report. The agreement came after the nurses in December took an advisory vote on a possible future strike.

13. SEIU wants $15 minimum wage for SLU Hospital workers: 3 things to know
The Service Employees International Union, which represents about 650 nonclinical workers at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, plans to seek a wage increase as the union prepares for its first contract negotiations since St. Louis-based SSM Health purchased the hospital, according to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report. Union members want a minimum wage of at least $15 per hour and 5 percent annual wage increases over the duration of the expected three-year contract, according to the report.


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