Support Staff at Two San Jose-Area Hospitals Hold One-Day Strikes
In the latest action by hospital staff and nurses in contract negotiations, support staff at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose and Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy yesterday held a 24-hour strike, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The workers were originally set to strike May 15 but canceled after reaching a "preliminary agreement" with hospital officials. However, the workers, represented by the Service Employees International Union Local 250, decided to proceed with the strike after failing to reach an agreement on organizing rights and on a contract termination date. They are seeking "more input on staffing decisions and improve[d] wages and benefits." The negotiations have been under way since the workers voted for union representation last year, the Mercury News reports. Approximately 70 workers at O'Connor took part in the strike, according to hospital spokesperson Mandy Olio, while it is unknown how many Saint Louise workers participated. A spokesperson for Saint Louise said the hospital hired an "undisclosed number" of temporary workers to replace those on the picket line. Around 350 O'Connor workers and 165 at Saint Louise are in the union, including respiratory therapists; radiology and pharmacy workers; laboratory workers; surgery and dietary technicians; certified nursing assistants; housekeepers; and central supply, distribution and admitting clerks (Harris, San Jose Mercury News, 6/6).
Another group of workers represented by SEIU Local 250 held a one-day strike yesterday at Cottonwood Health Care Center in Woodland, the Sacramento Bee reports. The union represents 65 workers at the nursing home, who are seeking improved wages and staffing levels. Contract negotiations between the two sides have "not produced an agreement" to replace contracts that expired in May 2001, union leaders said (Rapaport, Sacramento Bee, 6/5).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.