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UHW Kicks Off Contract Campaigns for 75,000 Hospital and Nursing Home Workers in Unprecedented Effort to Raise Quality Statewide
Date:2/19/2008

OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An aging population, the development of new technologies that demand a highly-trained workforce and competition between providers coupled with the need for increased access provide the backdrop for this historic undertaking by the nation's oldest health care union.

The kickoff will include a march, rally and press conference on Wednesday, Feb. 20 in Oakland:

-- 2:00 p.m. - Workers will gather at the Main Entrance to Summit Medical Center, 350 Hawthorne Ave., Oakland

-- 4:00 p.m. - March from Summit Medical Center to nearby Oakland Care Center, 3030 Webster St., Oakland

-- Short press conference to follow at Oakland Care Center will include special guest speaker and former Assemblywoman Wilma Chan announcing her endorsement by SEIU as the candidate to replace Sen. Don Perata in District 9.

These negotiations, designed to raise standards for healthcare delivery in hospitals and nursing homes, represent the largest coordinated bargaining campaign in the history of the healthcare industry, with nearly 200 nursing home and hospital contracts to be negotiated in 2008.

"Staffing and pay are my top concerns. We do the same work they have to do at a hospital and our pay isn't even close," says Patrick Jerome Forte, a resident care specialist at Diamond Ridge Health Care Center in Pittsburg.

About 100 contracts with nursing homes are set to expire this year, with bargaining getting underway in March. The first hospital negotiations are set to begin with Catholic Healthcare West at the end of February.

"This year, we're stronger, we're more unified than we ever have been. We're ready," says Helen York Jones, a food service worker at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

The plans for this campaign began 10 years ago, with union leaders lining up the dates of nearly 200 contracts in order to maximize their power as healthcare
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SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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