I am happy to announce that the new NUHW contract at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital has been ratified by both NUHW and the hospital’s Board of Directors.
Our two year contract extension includes yearly wage increases and protections for our jobs and our rights as union members if our hospital is ever sold. Most importantly, our contract protects the health insurance and other benefits that we have fought to achieve and contains no takeaways.
Some of you may remember that in 2011 SVMH Administration decided that they would try to eliminate our pension plan. We fought back. We involved leaders from every department and met with coworkers on every shift. We went to the public and we demonstrated our commitment to a fair contract with picket lines and a strike. Our campaign became national news.
We won that fight. We protected our pensions and even helped more workers at our hospital achieve a secure retirement.
With 36 stewards at our hospital and an active and engaged membership, we were prepared to have that fight again if we needed to. We believe that management knew that as well and that is why we were able to negotiate our contract extension quickly and without a fight.
Our success in negotiations is based on the active participation of members in every department and a structure of member leaders who are the foundation of our union.
Over the next few years we will work to recruit and train more member leaders. We will focus on addressing issues in our departments and strengthening our union.
When our contract expires in 2015 we will be ready for whatever management brings to the table – whether it’s a fair set of proposals like this year or a challenge like in 2011.
Patty Torres, Head Nutrition Aide, Nutritional Services, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital
National Union of Healthcare Workers - California Nurses Association