Working In These Times, Josh Eidelson, June 19, 2012
On June 15, a day after a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) official asked labor leaders not to oppose a change to nurse-patient ratios, California Nurses Association (CNA) Executive Director Rose Ann De Moro sent a blistering e-mail to her colleagues: “It is a war, of that I am certain, and it will not be pretty.”
Questioning whether SEIU - United Healthcare Workers West (UHW) President Dave Regan “has any principles,” De Moro called him “dogged, arrogant and an enormous embarrassment to the labor movement.” De Moro, who directs both CNA and its national affiliate, National Nurses United (NNU), charged, “the hospitals believe that they have found a way to weaken the nurses and their union with Regan in their power, and this will lead to some pretty nasty scenarios for the nurses, patients, and of course the union.” (The e-mails were provided to In These Times by a labor source.)
Updated: May 29, 2012 6:11 PM PDT
SALINAS - A war of words between Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital and a union that represents hundreds of its employees.
The National Union of Healthcare Workers claims the SVMH Board approved a giant pay increase for its chief operating officer last week, despite talks of a merger and consolidation.
But the hospital is painting a different picture.
“To even propose an increase like this sends the wrong message to the staff and quite frankly it’s pretty demoralizing,” said Joe Zakar, pharmacist at SVMH.
Zakar is outraged because he thought the hospital was giving one of its executives a pay increase at a time when the hospital is hurting for money.
The hospital said there was no such pay increase.
In a statement, it said it “approved a salary range for the newly created position of chief operating officer at SVMHS. there have been no salary changes for executives at SVMHS.”
SVMH said the executive team went from 11 members to 4.5 and this new position would encompass several of the eliminated jobs.
It also said it cut benefits for executives and the salary range is from 284,400 to 479,100 — numbers it claims are lower than other central coast hospitals.
But the union isn’t buying it.
“If the hospital has the money to do this, does the hospital have money to do other things and they’re just not telling us about? I just don’t think it’s fair” Zakar said.
Central coast Assemblyman Luis Alejo issued this statement regarding the move by Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare saying in part: “It is very concerning to see the exorbitant pay scale increase that was approved by the SVMH Board of Directors, despite a very critical audit by the State Auditor last March. I urge the Board to reconsider.”
Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
05/14/2012 11:17:14 AM PDT
Kaiser Permanente and a coalition of unions have reached a tentative three-year labor agreement including a companywide Total Health program to reduce the health care provider’s own medical costs.
The announced deal would affect nearly 10,000 Kaiser employees in the Inland Empire.
“It’s a great settlement, and our people are really excited about it,” said Steve Trossman, a spokesman for Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare West.
The deal calls for a 3 percent pay increase for Kaiser’s California employees and maintains those workers’ health care coverage and pensions, according to announcements from Kaiser Permanente and SEIU-UHW.
The agreement, reached at 3 a.m. Friday, also contains a framework for an employee Total Health program in which Kaiser Permanente would likely provide incentives for employees to lose weight, quit smoking or otherwise improve their physical conditions.
SEIU-UHW President David Regan said in a statement that reducing and preventing employees’ chronic health care problems is necessary to curb otherwise unsustainable health care costs.
“Over time, and as a group, that should also reduce the cost of providing medical costs to ourselves as members,” Kaiser Permanente spokesman John Nelson said.
Fresno County’s 10,000 homecare workers could face a rerun of a bitterly fought union election to decide their representation if an effort for a new vote is successful.
But the bid for a re-election won’t come without its own fight.
Members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers want to overturn a narrow win in 2009 by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers-West.
SEIU-UHW vows to oppose the attempt.
On Thursday, NUHW President Sal Rosselli said a decision by the California Public Employment Relations Board opens the door for a new election by homecare workers. “This election can be thrown out so workers can have a fair election to decide their own fate,” he said at a news conference outside the Fresno County Hall of Records.
The April 18 board decision overturns an earlier ruling by a board regional attorney who dismissed a complaint by the NUHW. The union had alleged election misconduct by SEIU, including voter intimidation, illegal threats and ballot manipulation.
“They organized a campaign of fear, intimidation,” Rosselli said Thursday.
Connie Lara, a former homecare worker who attended the news conference, said SEIU representatives “were very hateful” during the election three years ago.
California lawmakers on Wednesday approved a bill that would require taxpayer-funded health care districts to restrict lavish payouts to executives. The bill, authored by Assemblyman Luis A. Alejo, a Democrat from Salinas, would prohibit health care districts from giving financial perks to retiring administrators that are not available to other employees. The hospitals could no longer make inflated lump-sum payments exclusively to executives based on their performance or years of service, for example.
“This bill creates fair pension systems within health care districts and would prevent health care districts from providing unfair pay packages to their top executives,” Alejo said at the hearing on Wednesday.
The legislation was approved by the A
Monday, April 16, 2012, SF Chronicle
There is growing concern among some city leaders that a controversial deal Mayor Ed Lee has struck with California Pacific Medical Center to build a 555-bed hospital on Cathedral Hill will undermine San Francisco’s efforts to control health care costs.
While the mayor has lauded the complex, 229-page agreement as a jobs generator that will bring the city’s hospital network into the 21st century, the deal has raised concerns about how much of the $2.5 billion construction project will be passed on to consumers. The project would overhaul the Sutter Health affiliate’s medical facilities across the city and build two hospitals that meet state seismic safety mandates.
Increases could also combine with other factors to make the medical center a dominant provider in San Francisco with the power to increasingly dictate prices, warned Paul Kumar, a policy consultant to the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents roughly 750 medical center employees. His group opposes the current deal.
By DANIEL ROTHBERG · Daily Trojan
The Keck Hospital of USC and the National Union of Healthcare Workers reached a tentative agreement Tuesday for a three-year contract that, if ratified, will remain in effect until April 2015. NUHW members will vote to ratify the deal next week.
The tentative agreement includes salary raises between 9.75 and 33 percent over the course of the contract, full employer-based health care insurance and paid time off, according to an NUHW press release.
“This agreement features a generous compensation and benefits package that includes salary increases upon contract ratification and again in 2013 and 2014,” said Scott Evans, interim hospital CEO and COO, in a press release. “It serves the best interests of all Keck Hospital of USC employees while maintaining our competitive position in the increasingly competitive health care marketplace.”
In an effort to secure a suitable contract, hospital employees participated in an informational picket and a 24-hour strike in October 2011. Additionally, caregivers signed off on the authorization of a second strike, if necessary.
The caregivers, who were formally represented by another union, have been negotiating a first contract with NUHW since August 2010.
During the negotiation process, the hospital sought concessions, such as repealing a ban on subcontracting and replacing seniority-based pay with merit-based pay, according to an NUHW press release.
“This agreement is proof positive that when workers stay united and stand up for ourselves, we can win a fair contract with raises and no takeaways,” said Julio Estrada, a respiratory therapist at USC, in the press release. “We don’t have to give up our benefits just because the employer says so. NUHW is a fighting union, and that’s why we won.”
Read the article at The Daily Trojan.
John Cote, City Insider
Well, that didn’t take long.
The same day Mayor Ed Lee publicly announced he had struck a deal with California Pacific Medical Center to build a massive 555-bed hospital on Van Ness Avenue, rebuild St. Luke’s hospital in the Mission and overhaul their medical facilities around the city, more than 70 people took to the steps of City Hall to denounce the controversial deal as a giveaway that, among other things, fails to create enough local jobs. […]
Sal Rosselli, president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, representing about 750 CPMC employees, said “Sutter-CPMC has been the worst hospital employer in San Francisco” in terms of wages, safe staffing levels and its approach to unions. He faulted the new deal for not including worker protections.
Lee’s staff maintains that federal law prohibits including labor provisions in the development deal, but Paul Kumar of National Union of Healthcare Workers said the mayor has plenty of tools at his disposal to wrest concessions from CPMC, which posted almost $1 billion in profit from 2005 through 2010, or $830 million over that period when losses at St. Luke’s are factored in.
Opinion, The Californian.com, Mar 16, 2012
Following a stinging audit of how Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System’s board of directors conducts the public’s business, board president Jim Gattis should rethink his opposition to putting his seat up for an electoral-district election in November.
It could be voters are now in the mood for a change.
By Carl Finamore, Mar. 16, 2012
“With God on Our Side” is a very catchy book title. It also appears at first glance to be quite topical because mention of religion so dominates, and distorts many would add, political discussion in this country.
For that reason, curiosity may initially draw the reader’s eye. But the subtitle “The Struggle for Workers’ Rights in a Catholic Hospital” gives it all away. This is a book about organized labor and workers.
This is usually where most readers take flight. But that would be a mistake because it is so much more.
Books about labor post dreadfully low sales, true enough. Nonetheless, Adam Reich has written a very readable and colorful “story of worker leaders” at the largest and most prestigious hospital in the northern California town of Santa Rosa.
The story, however, carries political lessons far beyond the geography of this small-town power struggle. Reich has written a human-interest story about people and why some act so passionately to improve their lives.