San Joaquin County Nurses Vote To Set Strike Date
Nurses employed by San Joaquin County on Tuesday voted to set a date to strike unless they reach a new contract agreement, the Stockton Record reports. About 70% of the 560 San Joaquin nurses, who have worked for the past two weeks under the terms of a labor contract that expired June 30, voted Tuesday, and 97% supported a proposal to set a strike date. The California Nurses Association, which represents the nurses, planned to set the date yesterday, CNA spokesperson Janet Sass McDermott said. Contract negotiations between CNA and the county have stalled over disagreements on nurses' salaries and health benefits. According to CNA, San Joaquin nurses earn "much less" than nurses who work in the county's private hospitals -- as much as $5 less per hour in some cases. CNA has asked the county for a 22% increase in nurses' wages; the county has offered an 11% increase. In addition, CNA has asked the county to cover the cost of health insurance for the nurses and their families. McDermott said, "Obviously we would like to be able to reach an agreement. That's always the goal here. But the odds are good that there's going to be a strike." CNA and the county plan to meet for three bargaining sessions in the next week. Under state law, CNA must inform the county 10 days before a nurses' strike (Firpo, Stockton Record, 7/11).
In related news, more than 3,400 San Joaquin County home health care workers voted Wednesday to unionize, the Record reports. Service Employees International Union Local 250 will represent the workers, who provide home health care to more than 4,000 county residents through the In-Home Supportive Services program. The workers plan to begin negotiations with the county's IHSS public authority this month to ask for a wage increase, health coverage and other benefits, according to union officials (Stockton Record, 7/11).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.