Catholic Healthcare West, Union Reach Two-Year Contract Agreement for 9,000 Hospital Employees
San Francisco-based Catholic Healthcare West has agreed to a labor contract with the Service Employees International Union that would cover about 9,000 employees at 20 hospitals across the state, the Los Angeles Times reports. The agreement, which hospital employees must approve, would provide a 10% increase in wages and benefits over two years. Wage increases would range from 14% to 28%, and regular employees would receive health insurance through Catholic Healthcare West at no cost. The contract would cover registered and vocational nurses, respiratory therapists and food service employees. The contract also would establish joint union-management committees to address staffing issues -- which have become a "contentious matter" at many hospitals as a result of the state's nursing shortage -- and would send issues to binding arbitration in cases where union and management representatives could not reach an agreement. The Times reports that CHW and the SEIU reached the contract agreement after "several years of often contentious organizing and negotiations." SEIU officials called the agreement a "breakthrough" that would help unionization campaigns at other hospitals (Lee, Los Angeles Times, 4/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.