St. Joseph Sonoma members ratify contracts

NewsJune 21, 2016

NUHW members at Sonoma County’s two St. Joseph Health System hospitals voted June 18 to ratify contracts.

It’s the first contract for one hundred and sixty Petaluma Valley Hospital caregivers, who joined NUHW in December 2014, and the second for more than six hundred Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital workers, who joined in 2009. The caregivers include licensed vocational nurses, nursing assistants, radiology technicians, clerical workers, secretaries, and food service and EVS workers.

The three-year contracts include:

• Wage increases and a medical premium freeze that will help reduce turnover by ensuring that experienced caregivers remain on staff rather than leave for jobs at competing hospitals. Caregivers would receive 5% increases in the first and second years of the three-year contract, and a 3.25% increase in the third year, plus an immediate 6% market-adjustment increase for roughly half the workers at each facility. St. Joseph also committed to a freeze in medical premiums for the duration of the agreement, beginning in 2017, and no further changes to benefits for the life of the contract.

• Resolution  of staffing and other problems that affect the quality and timeliness of care through third-party mediation or  through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

• A commitment from St. Joseph Health to work with its staff to assess and meet staffing needs throughout the hospitals and a limit on St. Joseph’s ability to cancel shifts.

“This is a first step in establishing a working relationship between NUHW-represented caregivers and St. Joseph management,” said NUHW President Sal Rosselli. “Our Sonoma County and Humboldt County members have clearly demonstrated to St. Joseph Health that they are deeply concerned, actively engaged, and have the courage of their convictions. We hope St. Joseph recognizes the value of that dedication and will choose to benefit from it by including its staff in decision-making processes at the hospitals.”

NUHW members reached tentative agreement with St. Joseph just hours before a one-day strike was set to begin June 9. Members produced a video and white paper about the issues facing the hospitals.

The contract campaign was covered by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, the Petaluma Argus-Courier, the North Bay Bohemian, and local radio stations.

Hospital union decries staffing at Memorial and Petaluma Valley
Santa Rosa Press Democrat/Petaluma Argus-Courier,, May 10, 2016

Strike Thursday
North Bay Bohemian, June 8, 2016

Letter to the Editor: On Strike
North Bay Bohemian, June 8, 2016

Santa Rosa Memorial and Petaluma Valley hospitals avert strike
Santa Rosa Press Democrat/Petaluma Argus-Courier, June 9, 2016

Santa Rosa, Petaluma hospital workers’ union reaches three-year contract
Santa Rosa Press Democrat/Petaluma Argus-Courier, June 20, 2016