Hospitals and Unions: 9 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 month, beginning with the most recent.


1. UC, Union Reach Tentative Agreement
Members of a union representing healthcare professionals, researchers and technical employees are expected to vote on a tentative contract with the University of California this week.

2. L+M Hospital, AFT Connecticut Resume Talks After Strike
About 800 workers went on a four-day strike at New London, Conn.-based Lawrence + Memorial Hospital Nov. 27. After the strike officially ended, L+M barred the striking employees from returning to work. Contract negotiations were cancelled, then resumed Dec. 16.

3. 72-Day Strike Ends at 4 Dignity Health Hospitals
A strike that began in October at four San Francisco-based Dignity Health hospitals in the Bay Area ended after 72 days. Members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 39 returned to work at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City and Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco after ratifying a contract that goes through September 2016.

4. Providence Hospital Nurses Vote to Join Union
Washington, D.C.-based Providence Hospital's registered nurses voted to unionize Dec. 10. The nurses voted 232 to 66 to join National Nurses United, according to the report. The hospital has about 400 RNs.

5. Dignity Health Nurses Rally Over Pension Cuts
Nurses at 19 of San Francisco-based Dignity Health's hospitals rallied Dec. 13 over changes to retirement benefits. The rallies were organized by the California Nurses Association and the National Nurses Organizing Committee-Nevada. Dignity Health reportedly plans to reduce nurses' pension benefits by up to 30 percent.

6. Workers Strike at CHS' Deaconess, Valley Hospitals
Workers at Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, Wash., and Valley Hospital in Spokane Valley, Wash., started a one-day strike Dec. 4. About 1,000 workers went on strike, including Valley Hospital nurses and services and technical workers at both hospitals who are members of SEIU 1199NW.

7. Nurses Strike at 3 CHS Hospitals
Unionized nurses at three separate hospitals, all part of Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems, went on strike Dec. 3. The one-day strikes occurred at Watsonville (Calif.) Community Hospital, Barstow (Calif.) Community Hospital and Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) General Hospital.

8. Strike Averted at Regional Hospital of Scranton
A strike planned for Dec. 4 at Regional Hospital of Scranton (Pa.) was cancelled after hospital and union officials reached a contract agreement. The new nine-month contract includes a 2.1 percent wage increase for SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania members.

9. UC Medical Center Employees Strike
Members of AFSCME Local 3299 went on strike at University of California medical centers Nov. 20. A court order barred workers who perform "essential functions in patient health and safety" from participating in the strike.

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