Hospitals and unions: 9 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 after Oct. 5.

1. Washington State to get union for physicians
The National Labor Relations Board was expected to certify election results Oct. 20, creating a new union for physicians working at Auburn Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash. The union will include hospitals, pediatricians, surgeons and OB/GYNs, among other specialists.

2. Windham Hospital workers picket to rally support amid stalled negotiations Workers at Windham Hospital in Willimantic, Conn., picketed Oct. 20 amid stalled contract negotiations with the hospital's owner, Hartford (Conn.) HealthCare. The workers, including nurses, therapists and technologists, were picketing to make the public aware of the contract negotiations and to voice their concerns about what they see as threats to patient care, according to a Journal Inquirer report.

3. 53 nurses accuse Tenet-owned hospital of labor violations
Fifty-three nurses at Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton, Calif., filed claims against the hospital, alleging it violated California labor laws, according to lawyers representing the nurses. A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for Oct. 25.

4. Union workers protest 175 layoffs at UC Irvine
About 200 union members and supporters rallied Oct. 18 outside UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., to protest 175 layoffs, reports Orange County Register. Unions represented at the rally included the California Nurses Association, the University Professional and Technical Employees 9119 and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 3299.

5. 400 healthcare workers rally at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center
Four hundred healthcare workers and their supporters rallied at Pomona (Calif.) Valley Hospital Medical Center Oct. 19 to pressure hospital executives who they say have put profits and executive pay above quality and affordable medical care. Along with the rally, the workers held a formal press conference with U.S. Rep. Norma Torres (D), State Sen. Connie Leyva (D) and Rust Hicks, leader of the L.A. County Labor Federation.

6. As negotiations continue, Catholic Health Services nurses authorize strikes
Registered Nurses at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown, N.Y., and St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, N.Y., overwhelmingly voted to authorize strikes, the New York State Nurses Association said in a news release. Nurses at the hospitals, which are part of Catholic Health Services of Long Island, are working under expired contracts. They are asking for "a fair contract that enforces adequate staffing for patient care," as well as "adequate health benefits and pay needed to help recruit and retain skilled healthcare workers at the facility," the union said.

7. Allina nurses vote to end strike after months of negotiations and 6 weeks off the job
Allina Health nurses voted Oct. 13 to approve a contract offer from their Minneapolis-based employer, ending nine months of contentious negotiations in which they went on strike twice, according to a Star Tribune report. The latest offer from Allina, which required a simple majority vote, was similar to a contract offer nurses rejected Oct. 3, but it provided enough new financial incentives and guarantees about health benefits to gain favor from nurses, according to the article.

8. El Camino Hospital nurses, administrators head back to the bargaining table
Nurses at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, Calif., have rejected a tentative agreement with hospital officials on a new three-year contract, according to a Mountain View Voice report. By rejecting the contract, the workers, represented by the Professional Resource for Nurses union, indicate they are not satisfied with concessions on wages and pay cuts for working nights and weekends in the new contract, according to the article. The union and hospital have been in negotiations since March.

9. Morton Hospital nurses vote for option to strike
Union nurses at Steward Health Care System's Morton Hospital in Taunton, Mass., voted Oct. 5 to authorize a potential strike, a vote that allows the bargaining committee to call a strike after the existing three-year union contract expires at the end of 2016, reports Boston Business Journal. The vote took place prior to starting contract negotiations.


More articles on human capital and risk:

53 nurses accuse Tenet-owned hospital of labor violations
Union workers protest 175 layoffs at UC Irvine
Northeast Ohio hospital employment boosts local economy

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