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UHW Launches Campaigns for More Than 75,000 Hospital and Nursing Home Workers
Date:2/20/2008

OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of California healthcare workers picketed outside Summit Medical Center in Oakland Wednesday demanding fair wages and better benefits. The nursing home and hospital workers then marched to nearby Oakland Care Center where they rallied in support of the historic 2008 campaign.

For the first time, nearly 200 contracts are set to expire in the same year, giving UHW extraordinary strength at the bargaining table.

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 undertaking by the nation's oldest health care union.

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. The contracts cover more than 75,000 workers.

"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 contract dates to maximize their power as healthcare workers.

According to UHW President Sal Rosselli: "Our goal is one standard of care for healthcare workers throughout the state, with expanded training opportunities, increased job security and significantl
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SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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