Hospital Workers Reach Tentative Pact, Ratification Vote Monday
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A ratification vote was scheduled Monday for 1,700 hospital workers on strike against eight private hospitals after negotiators reached a tentative agreement on a contract over the weekend.
If ratified, the agreement for Local 250 of the Hospital and Health Care Workers Union could lead to a return of hospital technicians, licensed vocational nurses, orderlies and food service employees back to work.
However, the union on strike since July 26 would then have to decide whether to cross the picket lines of 2,000 nurses on strike since Aug. 2 at six of the medical centers.
Union trustee Mark Splain said there is a provision in the tentative agreement that Local 250 members would not go back to work until the nurses’ strike is settled. It was unclear whether the provision would be strictly enforced, particularly if the California Nurses Association strike is not quickly settled.
The dispute between the service worker’s union and Affiliated Hospitals had centered on health benefits and sick leave granted employees.
″We do think it’s a fair contract,″ Splain said. ″Compromises were made on both sides and it does restore the basic cuts in benefits that we were fighting for. I think the membership will ratify the contract.″
According to a Local 250 statement issued Saturday, the proposed two-year contract grants wage increases of 3 percent for each of the next two years for licensed vocational nurses and so-called second wage-tier employees.
Technicians will get a 1.65 percent raise this year, and 3 percent next year. Some other job classifications will receive a one-time bonus of between $200 and $300.
Most importantly, the union said, workers will not have to pay part of the cost of medical insurance unless they choose to see doctors not involved in the Affiliated Hospitals’ health maintenance organization.
The nurses’ union is fighting for pay increases and improved staffing conditions. CNA representatives have said bargaining between the hospitals and striking nurses would quickly follow any settlement with the service workers union.