UCSF hospital workers strike

Members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers went on strike April 19 at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland (Calif.).

The union represents more than 1,200 workers at the hospital, an NUHW spokesperson told Becker's. Union members include service and technical workers, business office and clerical workers, and other professional employees. 

Members of the California Nurses Association and the Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union also announced they would hold a one-day sympathy strike in solidarity with NUHW members. Those unions represent registered nurses and other healthcare workers at the hospital.

"We will be standing in solidarity with our NUHW colleagues as they go on strike this month," Jenny Phong, a diagnostic imaging worker, said, according to TV station KTVU. "It's so important for working people to stand together. We all want to provide our patients with the best care."

NUHW members at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland have been working without a contract for many months, according to the union. During negotiations, the union has expressed concerns about any potential future plans to cut medical services or jobs in the East Bay. Union members are seeking better wages, improved communication between the hospital and workers, and job security, according to KTVU.

"We serve families that deserve to have care in their community," said Ruth Crowe, an NUHW-represented social worker at the hospital, said in a news release shared with Becker's. "At the bargaining table, we talk about how our community-based programs are shrinking, but management is in denial. Our programs and services are under attack, and UCSF will continue to diminish what we can provide unless we stand together and fight."

The hospital, in a statement shared with Becker's, said it brought in qualified replacement staff to continue providing critical healthcare services for patients during the strike. 

"For care services that can be provided at a later date, we have rescheduled patients to the next available in-person appointments or transitioned them to video visits," the hospital added. "UCSF BCH Oakland hospital's emergency department will remain open for care. All outpatient services throughout the region will be closed. We expect to resume normal hospital and outpatient services" the morning of April 20. 

As far as negotiations, the hospital said it "issued our last, best and final offer" to NUHW on April 14 that included "a generous compensation package" that would provide most NUHW-represented employees with a pay increase of at least 13 percent over the life of the contract and for many employees, combined wage and market increases that equal 16 percent and more over three years.

"The union also requested expansions to language around job security and successorship in the event of full integration with UCSF, and we agreed to those provisions to the extent we are able under California state law, along with increased notice and enhanced severance pay," the hospital said. "We worked hard to develop a proposal that honors the excellent work of our employees while preserving our ability to continue caring for children in our community."

Ruth Crowe, a social worker at the hospital, told Becker's the hospital's offer "does not respond to our proposals to keep services in Oakland. It disregards our concerns about programs and services moving to San Francisco."

Regarding the union's claims about the hospital's commitment to Oakland and the East Bay, the claims "are simply not true," the hospital said, adding that the total number of NUHW-represented employees at the hospital has increased steadily since 2018. 

"We are investing $1.5 billion in modernizing our Oakland facilities, building a new hospital building which will bring much-needed juvenile mental health beds, enable us to further expand our services in Oakland and enable us to continue to provide excellent, compassionate care to children and their families, regardless of their ability to pay, for years to come," the hospital said.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars