Children’s hospital workers unanimously ratify contract that expands pensions
Professional workers at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland displayed tremendous unity in winning a great first contract that includes sizable raises and full defined-benefit pensions for everyone in the 250-member unit.
When these workers organized last year, about half of them did not have pensions because the hospital had discontinued the pension plan for everyone hired after 2012.
As negotiations got underway, the hospital wanted to not only continue denying pensions to newer hires, but also deny proposed raises to workers who were funded by grants.
But our members refused to be divided. They stood together and would not sign a contract that didn’t fully benefit all of them.
The contract, which was ratified unanimously, will provide almost all workers with 12 percent raises over two years with certain classifications that had been historically underpaid receiving bigger raises. Also included in the contract are wage scales that will result in additional raises for many workers, shift differentials, and full health benefits for part-time workers.
“We’ve been wanting a union for so long, and this contract was definitely worth the wait,” said Peggy Busher, a social worker. “I’m thrilled that my co-workers will now also have a pension and that we will all see good raises that we’ve worked so hard to earn.”
Following ratification of the contract, half of the unit elected to make contributions to NUHW’s COPE fund to help expand our political reach.
The contract illustrates the importance of organizing throughout our facilities to improve our bargaining power. We now have more than one thousand members at Children’s Hospital including service, technical and clerical staff. The professionals, who include pharmacists, social workers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and audiologists, were the most recent grouping to join NUHW.
Their contract victory also serves as inspiration for our Kaiser members who will start bargaining this year to restore pensions members in Southern California.