Labor Unions Seek To Shape Path to Health Care Reform
The California Nurses Association and the Service Employees International Union's United Healthcare Workers West unit -- two of the most influential labor unions in California -- are expected to continue to exercise their influence on hospital contracts and health care reform in California, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
Both unions have thrown their support behind Sen. Sheila Kuehl's (D-Los Angeles) bill (SB 840) to create a single-payer, state-run health care system in California. However, UHW is more likely to back a compromise, according to the Business Times.
UHW also is working to block a proposed medical complex because of contract disputes with Sutter Health, which operates California Pacific Medical Center. UHW President Sal Rosselli said that all of the union's contracts with hospitals will expire in 2008, a timetable he said was chosen to coincide with the presidential primaries and campaigns.
Meanwhile, CNA plans to increase its nationwide membership from 75,000 registered nurses to 80,000 by the end of 2007. The union is tapping its nationwide influence to push for nurse-staffing legislation that involves nurse-to-patient ratios, among other measures (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 4/16).