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Healthcare Workers Across California Vote to Join UHW

Over 1,000 Caregivers at Catholic Facilities Join Union

LOS ANGELES, March 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- During the past two days, an overwhelming majority of healthcare workers at St. Francis Medical Center (SFMC) in Lynwood and nine CHW Medical Foundation health clinics in the Sacramento area voted in separate elections to unionize with SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West (UHW).

"This victory shows we're united," said Joan Benvenuti-Finch, a Licensed Vocational Nurse at a clinic in Sacramento. "We're excited about being able to negotiate a contract so that we can help improve patient care, advocate for our patients and achieve industry-standard wages and benefits."

In two separate elections conducted March 26th and 27th, nearly 600 caregivers and support staff at SFMC and 427 caregivers and technical workers at the CHW Medical Foundation clinics voted to join UHW.

St. Francis Medical Center is part of the Los Altos Hills-based Daughters of Charity Health System, while the clinics are a part of San Francisco-based Catholic Healthcare West. Before the elections, UHW already represented 15,000 caregivers at these two Catholic healthcare systems, which are among the largest hospital systems in the western U.S.

In earlier negotiations, UHW members at the two health systems won the right for non-union employees to join UHW under a "free and fair" election agreement, which establishes fair ground rules for the election process. At SFMC, caregivers prevailed in their union election despite the fact that SFMC executives violated the agreement by interfering in caregivers' decision.

"Becoming a member of UHW gives us the strength to make patients the top priority at St. Francis Medical Center. Now we can work to make improvements on issues like safe staffing levels and retaining qualified healthcare workers," said Freddy Quintero, a Healthcare Tech at St. Francis Medical Center.

Currently, UHW members at other Daughters of Charity hospitals and Catholic Healthcare West facilities are bargaining new contracts as part of the union's historic 2008 contract campaign, in which more than 75,000 nursing home and hospital workers are negotiating contracts covering more than 200 facilities throughout California.

The 150,000-member SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West is the largest hospital and healthcare union in the western United States and represents every type of healthcare worker, including nurses, professional, technical and service classifications. Our mission is to achieve high-quality healthcare for all.

CONTACT: Blinker Wood

PHONE #: (323) 434-5733

SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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