Hospitals and Unions: 16 Latest Developments

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

1. Coshocton (Ohio) County Memorial Hospital and the Ohio Nurses Association have reached a contract agreement that will run through June 8, 2017.

2. A survey of registered nurses in Massachusetts, commissioned by the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United, found that nearly 80 percent of the state's RNs say the quality of care provided in hospitals is suffering because of unsafe staffing levels. The Massachusetts Hospital Association dismissed the survey as "not credible."

3. Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic reached a three-year contract agreement with nurses at a satellite clinic in Austin, Minn., that covers 145 nurses represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association.

4. Registered nurses at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, Calif., filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to request a secret-ballot union election to join the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United.

5. The California Hospital Association and the state's largest hospital worker union, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers East, formed a strategic relationship aimed at creating a new model of hospital-labor relations. Other unions are not pleased with the CHA-SEIU collaboration.

6. Workers represented by the Service Employees International Union went on a one-day, unfair labor practice strike at Geisinger-Lewistown (Pa.) Hospital May 6.

7. Registered nurses at Queen of the Valley Medical Center, represented by the California Nurses Association, picketed outside the Napa, Calif.-based hospital May 6.

8. Roughly 400 nurses, represented by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, held a picket May 1 outside Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, Calif.

9. The Maine State Nurses Association/National Nurses United held a candlelight vigil April 30 at Calais (Maine) Regional Hospital to protest budget cuts and layoffs at the hospital.

10. The National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Valley Hospital in Spokane Valley, Wash., and Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, Wash., based on charges filed by the Service Employees International Union 1199NW. It alleges Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems, which owns both hospitals, discouraged union membership and retaliated against workers who participated in a one-day strike.

11. More than a dozen nurses held an informational picket outside Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) General Hospital April 21 over nurse staffing levels. The nurses are represented by the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals union.

12. Employees at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital in Melrose, Mass., held an informational picket April 10 over a contract negotiation between the hospital and 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.

13. The District of Columbia Nurses Association held an informational picket April 11 outside Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C., over proposed layoffs at the hospital.

14. Kansas City-based University of Kansas Hospital's Authority Board approved a contract proposal in April regarding nurse pay, despite the fact the KU Nurses Association rejected the proposal in 2013. The union is unable to strike due to Kansas law.

15. Some employees of Baltimore-based The Johns Hopkins Hospital went on a three-day strike April 9 after labor union 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the hospital failed to reach an agreement.

16. Wrapping up two years of negotiations, which at times became contentious, University of California patient care technical workers, represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, ratified a four-year contract with UC's health system.

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