Mountain View Voice

News - September 28, 2012

Hospital workers reach agreement with El Camino

by Nick Veronin

A day after announcing El Camino Hospital officials had reached an agreement with the nurses' union, the health care organization released a statement touting a tentative three-year contract with the hospital's largest organized-labor group.

The new contract, which was scheduled to be ratified by Sept. 21, will provide a raise, increases in health and retirement benefits, and more paid time off to ECH staff represented by the Service Employees International Union-United Health Workers. SEIU-UHW advocates for a wide swath of hospital employees, from skilled technicians to unskilled laborers.

"We appreciate that El Camino Hospital leadership and the hospital board of directors worked closely with us on this agreement," Dave Regan, president of the SEIU-UHW, said in a statement.

Just as she said the agreement reached with the nurses signaled a cooling of tensions between the hospital and that union, ECH spokeswoman Chris Ernst said that this three-year contract demonstrates an improvement of relations between the SEIU-UHW and El Camino's top administration and board.

"I think that we have all learned a lot over the last year, which is why we came back to the table — because we really wanted to improve our collaborative relationship with all our unions," Ernst said. "We've really been striving to listen and understand what is important to their memberships."

A spokeswoman for the union could not be reached for comment.

Back in 2010, all hospital employees were asked to give up some benefits. According to Ernst, ECH officials had no choice but to impose the cuts, as the hospital was in uncertain financial waters. However, due to concerted savings and efficiency efforts begun back in 2010, the hospital can now afford to offer raises and more benefits to its employees, Ernst said. "That hard work has paid off."

The new agreement will provide union members with a 6 percent salary increase over the life of the contract. Additionally, SEIU-UHW members at the hospital will once again have a free health care option. (Back 2010, Ernst said, the hospital introduced a policy requiring all employees to contribute to the premium payments for all health plans.) On top of that, employees will now have the ability to accrue as many as 400 hours of paid time off — up from 350 hours.

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement and are encouraged by our collective commitment to build a healthier workforce," Tomi Ryba, the hospital's CEO, said in a statement.

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields