Mountain View Hospital Workers Protest Contract Proposal
More than 250 workers from Mountain View's El Camino Hospital on Tuesday protested the hospital's proposed changes to health care benefits in a union contract currently under negotiation, the San Jose Mercury News reports. According to Loretta Johnson, health care director for Service Employees International Union Local 715, which represents the hospital workers, the contract proposal would require employees to pay for health care premium increases that could total $2,000 to $3,000 annually. Some protesters from the union said that El Camino can afford to pay for rising health care premiums because the hospital reported a record profit of $19.1 million last year. Although she declined to discuss specific details of El Camino's negotiations with the union, hospital spokesperson Judy Twitchell said the hospital must finance construction of a seismically safe, $298 million campus, in addition to a $2.5 million increase for health care premiums in 2003 that will not be passed on to workers. The union's current contract expires on Saturday (Kwan, San Jose Mercury News, 6/18).
In related news, about 75 In-Home Supportive Services workers in Fresno County on Tuesday held a rally in front of the county's Hall of Records calling for health care benefits and increased wages. The county's 11,000 home-care workers, who are represented by SEIU Local 250, have been seeking wage increases from $6.75 an hour to $9.50 an hour for a year. The Fresno County Board of Supervisors has offered to increase wages to $7.50 an hour this year and to $8 an hour next year. Union leaders said they are considering the offer but will likely reject it. However, supervisors said that proposal was their "last, best and final offer" because the county, which is considering 425 layoffs, cannot afford to grant higher wage increases (Davis, Fresno Bee, 6/18).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.