Strike averted at California hospital

Healthcare workers at Doctors Hospital of Riverside (Calif.) have canceled a 24-hour strike planned for Jan. 13 after the workers and hospital management reached a tentative agreement, according to hospital and union statements shared with Becker's.

The Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, which represents about 330 Doctors Hospital employees, said the new agreement includes significant wage increases for workers.

"A big reason we've been so understaffed is that it's hard to get workers to stay here," John Richardson, a pathology assistant at the hospital, said in a news release. "People would come for three to six months, get some experience and move on. Now, with this new agreement, we've got a better chance of keeping experienced caregivers here in Riverside to care for our patients."

The union announced the planned strike Jan. 10, citing staffing concerns as part of the reasoning for the walkout. 

In its statement, the hospital said it is pleased a strike was averted and that an agreement was reached.

"We are proud of the professionalism and dedication demonstrated by our caregivers and other staff who continue to work tirelessly to protect our community during the COVID-19 pandemic," the statement added.

Hospital workers must still approve the tentative agreement before it is final. They are expected to vote later in January.

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