Victory in Sonoma County
July 28th, 2021
Wellpath, one of the nation’s largest providers of prison healthcare services, has grown accustomed to securing no-bid contracts for its services in California.
But NUHW members who work for Wellpath at the Sonoma County Jail this month successfully blocked a five-year contract extension that Wellpath thought was a done deal.
The workers, who joined NUHW last year and are still negotiating their first contract, teamed up with our union’s political organizers to present their concerns to Sonoma County supervisors about nursing shortages and understaffing of mental health clinicians in the jail.
The supervisors were clearly troubled by what they heard.
On July 20, the board declined to approve a five-year contract extension for Wellpath to provide healthcare services at the jail. Instead, the supervisors voted to extend the current contract by six months and approved outside monitoring of Wellpath’s operations to give them more time and resources to thoroughly review Wellpath’s performance.
“This is a big victory for us as caregivers and for the people who depend on us for care,” said Miguel Peña, a nurse who works at the Sonoma County Jail. “We showed Wellpath that we are well-organized and that we have the power to hold them accountable.”