Election victories: More than 1000 workers join NUHW

Children's Hospital OaklandAugust 18, 2016

More than one thousand previously unrepresented workers voted to join NUHW in the last several months.

Kindred Hospital Bay Area
In May, more than 100 registered nurses and professional and service workers at Kindred Hospital Bay Area, a transitional care hospital located in San Leandro (Alameda County), voted 90 percent to join NUHW, more than doubling the number of NUHW members in the facility.

With this victory, and a previous election victory in February, the hospital is now wall-to-wall NUHW.

Fountain Valley Regional Hospital
Also in May, nearly six hundred workers at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital, Orange County’s largest for-profit hospital, voted 77 percent to join NUHW. Fountain Valley caregivers organized to advocate for increased staffing levels, improved patient care, and fair wages at the Tenet-owned hospital and recently started bargaining with the employer

“Because we’re short staffed, I take on extra responsibilities, including that of a nursing assistant,” said Unit Secretary/Monitor Tech Ruth Sevilla. “We have old equipment and are continuously overworked. We formed a union so we can fight for the equipment, support, and staff we need to give our patients the care they deserve, and to help boost morale at our hospital.”

In addition to short staffing, Fountain Valley caregivers experience stagnant wages, inequities in pay as new hires are frequently paid more than longtime staff, and exploitation of per diem workers, many of whom work full-time schedules but receive no benefits and have seen no wage increases for years.

“Our wages have not kept pace with the cost of living,” said Engineer Dave Seboldt. “And many of us who have been here for years and get great performance evaluations not only train new employees, including our own supervisors, but make much less than those who just got hired. Workers should get paid for their years of service.”

Fountain Valley NUHW members include respiratory therapists, radiology technicians, pharmacy technicians, phlebotomists, monitor technicians, nursing assistants, surgical technicians, anesthesiology technicians, unit secretaries, maintenance workers, and other classifications.

Children’s Hospital Oakland
In a two-month span, nearly four hundred workers at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland voted 88 percent to join five hundred of their coworkers as members of NUHW. Children’s workers organized to advocate for improvements in staffing levels, patient care, job security, and respect in the workplace.

On August 3, three hundred office and administrative workers at Children’s voted 87 percent to join NUHW. This election, combined with a June election in which more than seventy Children’s technical workers voted to organize, nearly doubles the number of NUHW members at the hospital. The NUHW Children’s bargaining unit is now nine hundred strong.

“I want to work together with my co-workers for a better Children’s Hospital. I believe that we can do that by forming a union with NUHW. Almost every other position at CHO is represented by a union. Why not us? I think it is time for us all to join together,” said Office Associate Katie Jones. “Together our voices will be heard. Together we will bargain a contract that keeps our jobs secure and keeps us invested in CHO and our service to our community.”

Children’s business and administrative workers include office coordinators, schedulers, registration associates, accounting clerks, financial advisors, telecommunications operators, patient accounting representatives, clerks, and others. The technical workers who joined in June include medical interpreters, respiratory therapists, pharmacy technicians, nursing assistants, surgical technicians, unit secretaries, linen workers, maintenance workers, and other classifications.

The new members are gearing up to join their coworkers in bargaining to fight for improvements in wages, benefits, and working conditions at Children’s.