Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Union vigil at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital

December 14th, 2011

By Martin Espinoza, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Dec. 13, 2011

Employees at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital who are members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers held a candlelight vigil in front of the hospital Tuesday evening intended to rally public support for the union as it negotiates with hospital management.

Union officials say their main concerns are improving staffing levels, wages and retirement benefits. The union represents about 700 technical, service and maintenance workers at the hospital.

“It’s very hard to work with such high levels of stress,” said Josephine Obermayr, a radiology scheduler who is part of the union negotiating team. “It’s been like this since we had the huge reduction in staff about three years ago.”

The NUHW and St. Joseph Health System-Sonoma County, which runs Memorial, have been negotiating since May.

Katy Hillenmeyer, a St. Joseph spokeswoman, said Tuesday that negotiating sessions have been productive. “Patient safety and the health of our community are Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital’s primary concerns,” she said.