Service Workers at Stanford, Lucille Salter Packard Hospitals Strike
As expected, hospital workers at Stanford University and Lucile Salter Packard hospitals yesterday held a one-day strike, several days after they rejected a new contract proposal, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Vo, San Jose Mercury News, 11/14). Stanford spokesperson Maria La Ganga has said the proposed contract, which includes a 21% wage increase over three years, is the hospitals' "last, best and final offer" for the 1,400 workers, who include nursing assistants, laboratory technicians and housekeepers. The workers, represented by Service Employees International Union Local 715, are seeking improved wages, a procedure to address staffing issues and less use of nonunion workers at the hospitals. Hospital officials have proposed an advisory committee to help with staffing decisions, but the workers want the committee to have equal numbers of workers and managers. In addition, the workers want to be able to bring disputes to a third party, but the hospital has refused binding arbitration (California Healthline, 11/12). Dr. Lawrence Shuer, Stanford's chief of staff, said, "If staffing was a problem we'd hear about it, not from nursing assistants but from nurses, doctors and patients." He added that the hospital would not be "ranked as one of the nation's best if it offered shoddy service," the News reports. The hospitals rescheduled some elective procedures but otherwise remained open during the strike (San Jose Mercury News, 11/14).
In related news, up to 450 service and technical workers at Sutter Roseville Medical Center were scheduled to hold a one-day strike today if negotiations did not yield a "tentative contract" agreement, the Sacramento Bee reports (Rapaport, Sacramento Bee, 11/14). Negotiations between the workers, represented by Service Employees International Union Local 250, and the hospital began Oct. 18 on a contract scheduled to expire Nov. 13. Hospital officials and union representatives have disagreed over salary increases and health benefits (California Healthline, 11/4). Sutter officials said they have hired replacement workers "through Tuesday morning" and "will not need union employees for five days" if there is a strike, according to the Bee. Barbara Nelson, Sutter Roseville's chief nursing executive, said, "We want to settle this at the table, but we also took steps to ensure that the hospital remains fully open with all services available in the event of a strike." John Borsos, SEIU hospital division director, said the move would be "yet another indication of Sutter Roseville's complete disregard for patients to hire temporary workers who don't know the hospital when our members are ready, able and willing to work" (Sacramento Bee, 11/14).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.