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Workers at UCSF Children’s Hospital Oakland win contract one day before scheduled picket

NewsMarch 7, 2022

After nine months of fruitless contract negotiations, caregivers at UCSF Children’s Hospital Oakland scheduled a picket to call public attention to the hospital’s refusal to agree to fair contract terms.

But on the night before the scheduled picket, UCSF made several key concessions that paved the way to a deal.

The one-year contract includes:

  • 3 percent across-the-board raises with 5 percent wage increases for Social Workers and 10 percent wage increases for Massage Therapists, who had been paid less than their counterparts at UCSF hospitals in San Francisco.
  • Improved wage scales for Dietitians, Child Life Specialists, and Music Therapists
  • Agreement that at least 23 NUHW members will be promoted to the highest rung of their clinical ladders, resulting in additional wage increases.
  • Improved shift differential for Pharmacists.
  • Bereavement language that includes all kinds of families and loved ones.

“I’m so proud of all of my colleagues and the contract we’ve won,” said Felicia Hashimoto, an occupational therapist. “It would have been easy to have settled for less months ago, but we made a commitment to each other to never let UCSF devalue our work or our services for our underserved families. This contract doesn’t just achieve our goals, it puts us in a position to win an even better contract in unity with our nearly 1,000 fellow NUHW members throughout Children’s Hospital Oakland.”

Approximately 99 percent of the 273 mental health therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, child life specialists, audiologists and speech language pathologists, who cast ballots voted to ratify the contract.

In December, the professionals joined with nearly 1,000 other NUHW members at the hospital to hold a Town Hall with patients and local elected officials to discuss their concerns that UCSF was moving and services to its Children’s Hospital in San Francisco. The event generated coverage by KTVU-2 and Oaklandside.

The struggle to keep jobs and medical care in Oakland and the East Bay will be a key issue as the contracts for all 1,200 NUHW members at the UCSF hospital expire later this year.

One feature of the contract for the professionals that workers in other bargaining units will also demand is a re-imagining of bereavement in which workers can pick three people who are family to them in place of relatives, such as siblings, parents and children, for whom they could traditionally receive bereavement leave.

Hania Thomas-Adams, who was denied bereavement leave last November after the sudden passing of her partner’s ex-wife — the mother of their 8-year-old son — praised the new bereavement leave that workers fought hard to secure.

“For me, this victory isn’t just about securing higher wages, it’s about making UCSF honor all families,” said Thomas-Adams, a palliative care specialist at the hospital. “The bereavement policy we fought for and won will ensure that none of us are ever again made to feel as if our families don’t count and that when our hospital talks about family-centered care, it will acknowledge the reality of all families.”