Hospitals and unions: 15 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 Aug. 1.

1. Allina Health nurses authorize second strike
Nurses at five Allina Health hospitals voted Thursday to call for a new strike in a disagreement with the Minneapolis-based health system over health benefits, staffing and workplace safety, according to a Star Tribune report. The second strike comes after an initial seven-day strike in June didn't result in a deal.

2. Bonner General Health nurses vote to authorize strike
Nurses at Bonner General Health in Sandpoint, Idaho, will strike if they feel a fair contract cannot be achieved through negotiations with the hospital, according to a Bonner County Daily Bee report. The nurses recently approved a strike vote, which does not initiate a strike, but does give the nurses authority to call a strike later in the bargaining process.

3. Community leaders lobby for nurses with letter to Steward hospital president
A delegation of community leaders from Greater Haverhill visited the hospital, part of Boston-based Steward Health Care, to hand-deliver a letter to hospital President Joseph Roach to "express concerns for the nurses who provide dedicated care at our hospital," and to appeal for fair treatment of the nurses in protracted negotiations for a new union contract. The hospital said it will review the letter and looks forward to continuing negotiations with nurses at that time.

4. Shore Medical Center nurses OK contract agreement: 3 things to know
Nurses at Shore Medical Center in Somers Point, N.J., ratified a new four-year contract that addresses wages and benefits. The Shore Nurses Union and the New York State Nurses Association said the agreement provides for wage increases, but did not provide further details on what the increases were. The agreement also provides for the retention of retirement benefits.

5. California RNs reach tentative agreement with HCA-affiliated hospitals
Registered nurses at Good Samaritan Hospital and Regional Medical Center, both in San Jose, Calif., have reached a tentative agreement with hospital administrators on a new contract, the California Nurses Association said. The agreement covers 1,641 RNs in bargaining units at the hospitals, which are part of Nashville, Tenn.-based Hospital Corporation of America.

6. Nurses at 3 NY hospitals plan strike
Nurses at Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville, Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown and St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica voted to authorize a strike Sept. 1, according to the New York State Nurses Association. The union, which represents the workers, said a 10-day notice has been officially delivered to management at all three hospitals calling for a one-day walkout at St. Elizabeth Medical Center and SMC as well as a two-day walkout at NLH. The nurses have been working without contracts. Nurses have raised concerns about inadequate staffing of RNs in numerous departments.

7. New contract for RNs at Southern California Hospital at Culver City
Registered nurses at Southern California Hospital at Culver City (Calif.) have ratified a new contract agreement with management, California Nurses Association said. Among other things, the contract includes establishing an Infectious Disease Taskforce, according to the union, which represents 300 nurses at SCHCC. The union said this task force will allow nurses to meet with management "to better address policies and equipment necessary to control the spread of communicable diseases in the hospital." The contract also features pay increases ranging from 10 percent to 19.5 percent over the next 30 months and improved on-call rates.

8. Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital nurses to strike
Registered nurses at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital in Hollister, Calif., are scheduled to strike for one day beginning at 6 a.m. on Aug. 24, the California Nurses Association said. The nurses said they are striking due to concerns over staffing and working conditions, among other issues.

9. Queen of the Valley nurses win first union contract
The union representing nurses at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, Calif., reached a tentative agreement with the hospital for the nurses' first-ever contract, according to a Vallejo Times-Herald report. The California Nurses Association and hospital reached the three-year tentative agreement Aug. 8. It includes safe staffing provisions, such as staffing according to severity of patients' condition, as well as establishment of a professional practice committee of elected bedside nurses to track staffing, according to the report.

10. Dignity Health workers protest contract proposals
Healthcare workers protested Aug. 10 outside Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, Calif., over contract proposals from the hospital and its owner, San Francisco-based Dignity Health, according to a Santa Maria Times report. The protesters are represented by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West.

11. NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital workers protest over wages
Workers at Bronxville, N.Y.-based NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital held a candlelight vigil, lobbying for better wages, according to a Bronxville Daily Voice report. The workers, represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, protested across the street from the hospital.

12. Mayo food service workers plan picket over outsourcing decision
A union representing workers at Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic will picket later this month over the system's decision to switch food service vendors, according to a KIMT report.The Service Employees International Union Healthcare Minnesota told the TV station food service workers and supporters will picket over the outsourcing decision Aug. 24 in front of Saint Marys hospital campus in Rochester.

13. Heritage Valley Beaver nurses to strike again
Nurses at Heritage Valley Beaver (Pa.) have nixed management's latest contract offer and will strike beginning Aug. 23, according to an Associated Press report published by CBS Pittsburgh. The Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania, which represents the nurses, is against the hospital's plans to raise healthcare costs for the workers. The hospital said the health coverage was fair and that nurses who use the health system's facilities are fully covered, according to the report.

14. 100 Dignity Health hospital workers picket in California
Hospital workers at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, Calif., picketed over contract issues, according to a Ventura County Star report. More than 100 St. John's workers, represented by Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, participated in the picket. The picket was prompted by negotiations being held across San Francisco-based Dignity Health system, according to the report.

15. Steward Health Care, workers reach new contract
Boston-based Steward Health Care System has signed a contract with the union representing about 5,000 of its hospital workers, The Boston Globe reports. The contract, which runs from Nov. 1, 2016 to Oct. 31, 2019, maintains health benefits and offers non-clinical staff and hospital technicians a 5.5 percent raise over three years.

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