Service Workers Strike at Three San Jose Hospitals; Strike Could Spread to Stanford
About 1,500 members of the Service Employees International Union Local 250 on Monday launched a two-day strike at three San Jose hospitals, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The union is picketing HCA-owned San Jose Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital and Regional Medical Center over demands for more say in staffing levels and health insurance for employees' families. The union also held a rally at San Jose Medical Center attended by Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (D) and Assembly members Elaine Alquist (D-San Jose), Manny Diaz (D-San Jose) and Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto). The union has been negotiating with HCA for a year to cover workers including clerks, housekeepers and lab assistants. Doctors and nurses are not participating in the strike. Leslie Kelsay, a spokesperson for HCA, said that the strike had "no impact on patient care. Employees volunteered to work the holiday or to take on additional shifts." HCA and SEIU 250 plan to resume negotiations on Thursday.
In related news, about 600 hospital workers marched on Stanford and Lucile Salter Packard hospitals, "signaling the current strike" in San Jose could "ripple northward this fall if union demands for a voice in staffing levels aren't met," the Mercury News reports. "Certainly we would hope that it wouldn't come to that,'' Isobel White, a march organizer with SEIU Local 715, said. John Barbadian, vice president of human resources for the two Stanford hospitals, said he "looked forward" to coming to an "equitable agreement with SEIU workers," according to the Mercury News. The current contract ends in November (Neidorf/Davis, San Jose Mercury News, 9/3).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.