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    Read our pamphlet: “What is a Union?
    Léelo en español: “¿Qué es un Sindicato?

     

    Read “The State of the Union,” from the 2013 Leadership Conference.


    WHICH WAY TO WELLNESS? Read this authoritative report on how SEIU-UHW’s “Wellness” schemes at Kaiser, Dignity Health and other employers hurt workers.

    Latest news

    Thursday
    Aug152013

    San Francisco’s Mission Neighborhood Health Workers Ratify First NUHW Contract

     

    Last week, caregivers at San Francisco’s Mission Neighborhood Health Center (MNHC) unanimously ratified their first contract with NUHW.

    Like thousands of other healthcare workers, MNHC joined NUHW after several years of frustration in SEIU where they were forced to accept concessionary contracts while experiencing a total lack of representation in the wake of SEIU’s 2009 hostile takeover of their local union.

    After voting to be represented by NUHW in September 2012, MNHC workers mounted a successful contract campaign.  The Employer, after the takeover by SEIU, expected massive takeaways.  Informational picketing, lobbying, community outreach and a resolve to win a fair settlement proved to be a successful combination.  The efforts of the members were aided by San Francisco Supervisor David Campos who helped to mediate the settlement.  The new contract includes:

    • Wage increases of 6% over the term of the contract
    • No Takeaways
    • Improved Job Security language
    • Replacement of the dangerously underfunded SEIU retirement program with a contractual guaranteed retirement plan funded by an annual 4% mandated contribution from the Employer.

    Congratulations to the Mission Neighborhood Health Center workers!



    Wednesday
    Jul312013

    Kaiser Permanente Ineligible to Participate in Obamacare Insurance Exchange in California

    Kaiser should be disqualified from exchange due to violations of state statutory requirements for mental health patients and other plan participants 

    Kaiser disciplined a therapist for recommending timely follow-up for patient in clinical notes

    Emeryville, California — Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., the biggest HMO in California and one of the biggest in the country, should not be allowed to participate in the new insurance exchange being set up under Obamacare in California next year since it fails to meet the required standard of “good standing” spelled out in the exchange’s “Qualified Health Plan Contract.”

    Section 3.02 of Covered California’s contract requires that during the year preceding entrance into the agreement, contracting health plans be in “good standing,” which it defines as “the absence of any material statutory or regulatory violations, including penalties” by the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC).

    Last month, Kaiser was assessed a penalty of $4 million by DMHC for what the regulatory agency calls “serious deficiencies in providing access to mental health services” that violate Health and Safety Code section 1374.72; California Code of Regulations, Title 28, Section 1300.67.2.2(c) and (d); and California Code of Regulations, Title 28, Section 1300.67(f)(8).

    In addition, in June, the DMHC cited Kaiser for five more violations of state law, including failure to ensure that its utilization management practices are “consistent with sound clinical principles and professionally recognized standards of practice,” failure to properly notice policyholders of denials of service, and failure to ensure compliance with state regulations governing coverage of reconstructive surgery. In one case cited by the DMHC, Kaiser unlawfully told the parents of a patient that removal of a cyst on their son’s face was “cosmetic” and not covered by their insurance policy.

    The unambiguous language in the insurance exchange’s contract clearly disqualifies Kaiser.

    Yesterday, the National Union of Healthcare Workers sent a letter to the directors of Covered California, alerting them to Kaiser’s ineligibility under the exchange rules.

    DMHC’s $4 million fine against Kaiser — the second largest in the agency’s history — was the result of a state investigation sparked by a report compiled by NUHW-represented mental health clinicians at Kaiser that identified numerous violations of California laws requiring “timely access” to care by patients.

    Instead of seeking guidance from its mental health care providers who have long advocated for increased staffing to rectify Kaiser’s deficiencies in care, Kaiser has begun to intimidate and punish clinicians for advocating for patients and for simply doing their jobs.

    Last week, after conducting a telephone triage assessment on a patient, Dr. Alex Wang, a psychologist at Kaiser Fremont, wrote in his notes, “pt should be seen sooner” than his scheduled appointment for three weeks later. Kaiser management disciplined Dr. Wang’s for writing this clinical note, calling it a “political statement.”

    Read NUHW’s letter to DMHC on Kaiser’s retailiation against Dr. Wang: http://nuhw.squarespace.com/storage/docs/NUHW-ComplaintToDMHC_OnKaiser7-31-13.pdf

    Read NUHW’s letter to California Attorney General Kamala Harris requesting an investigation of Kaiser’s apparent violation of whistleblower protection laws: http://nuhw.squarespace.com/storage/docs/NUHW-ComplaintToAttyGeneralOnKaiserRetaliation7-31-13.pdf

    “Kaiser doesn’t take mental health care for its patients seriously,” says Dr. Andris Skuja, PhD, a psychologist at Kaiser. “Our patients have serious needs. The last thing they need is for their care to be illegally curtailed by an HMO that’s already making billions in profits, just so Kaiser can make a few more pennies on the dollar at patients’ expense.” 

    Friday
    Jul262013

    We won a great contract with no takeaways at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital

    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.

     

    In Solidarity,

    Patty Torres, Head Nutrition Aide, Nutritional Services, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital
    National Union of Healthcare Workers - California Nurses Association

     

    Wednesday
    Jul102013

    NUHW members at Children's Hospital Oakland hit the picket line!

    Last week, NUHW members at Children’s Hospital Oakland conducted an informational picket for a fair contract that preserves long-held employee rights and health insurance protections. Children’s workers were also on the picket line to protest unsafe staffing at the hospital. NUHW members were joined in solidarity by registered nurses in the California Nurses Association (CNA) and employees represented by the Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union (CHEU). No contract, no peace!

    Monday
    Jul082013

    NUHW Mental Health Clinicians Speak Out for Kaiser Patients

    On June 26, NUHW psychologists, therapists and social workers in both Northern and Southern California held joint press conferences to discuss Kaiser’s habitual short staffing of its mental health services. Recently, acting on the findings of a report compiled by NUHW mental health clinicians, the California state government fined Kaiser $4 million for violating laws protecting timely access for patients in emotional and psychological distress.

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