Hospitals and Unions: 6 Recent Developments

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

1. After more than two years of contract negotiations, Greenfield, Mass.-based Baystate Franklin Medical Center and the Massachusetts Nurses Association reached a tentative agreement. The agreement averted a one-day nurses strike that was to occur Monday, Feb. 10.

2. A federal judge green-lighted a National Union of Healthcare Workers' lawsuit against Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, as he denied Kaiser's motion for summary judgment. The suit alleges Kaiser aided Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West during a union election competition between SEIU-UHW and NUHW.

3. Lawrence + Memorial Hospital's unionized nurses and technicians in New London, Conn., approved a 28-month contract Feb. 3. The employees, members of AFT Connecticut, had been working without a contract since November. The contract agreement ends a month-long impasse between the two groups, which included a four-day strike and a weeks-long lockout.

4. Talks between UPMC Altoona (Pa.) and SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania broke down Feb. 1, and union members are planning to strike for one day on Feb. 11. The two groups have yet to agree on health insurance, retirement benefits and staffing guidelines.

5. The contract between Morgantown-based West Virginia University Hospitals and Local 814, Laborers' International Union of North America was extended after the union issued a 10-day strike notice. With the extension, the contract is good through Feb. 28.

6. Registered nurses picketed outside Berkeley, Calif.-based Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, a Sutter Health affiliate, in January. The nurses and the California Nurses Association were concerned over layoffs, hospital and system executive pay and budget cuts.

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