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Healthcare Workers Reach Tentative Agreement With Enloe Medical Center
Date:12/3/2008

4 1/2-Year Fight Shows Need for Labor Law Reform

CHICO, Calif., Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Healthcare workers at Enloe Medical Center have reached a tentative agreement with hospital management for a new contract that includes improvements to patient care, full health coverage for workers, and an average wage increase of 33 percent over four years.

If approved, the contract would cap more than a year of bargaining that followed a four-year campaign by Enloe hospital management to first prevent workers from organizing a union, and then to stall and delay the negotiation of a first contract.

"This is a hard-fought victory, but it was worth it because of how much the new contract will help patients and the community of Chico," said Barbara Garcia, a certified nursing assistant at Enloe. "We knew that we wanted to form a union so we could have a voice on the job and improve patient care, and it's exciting to finally have that opportunity."

The tentative agreement includes wage increases ranging from 22 to 52 percent over four years, as well as joint labor-management committees formed to address staffing and patient care issues, with third-party mediation. Enloe workers and their families will be eligible for fully employer-paid health coverage.

Workers at the hospital will vote to ratify the contract on Dec. 9.

Enloe workers first voted to form a union with United Healthcare Workers in April 2004, but the prior hospital administration challenged the election results. After every legal challenge was rejected, Enloe management finally agreed to negotiations in early 2007.

However, negotiations dragged out. Earlier this year, Enloe's healthcare workers considered going on strike to encourage management to quit stalling and move productively toward a contract agreement.

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SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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