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UPDATED: Catholic Healthcare West and SEIU Begin Negotiations for 15,000 Hospital Workers
Date:2/29/2008

OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California's largest nonprofit hospital provider and the state's largest healthcare workers' union convened negotiations Thursday covering 15,000 hospital workers across California.

Both parties are eager to get this round of negotiations underway and continue their joint efforts to improve patient care and expand access to quality hospital services across the state. In 2004, Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) and SEIU locals United Healthcare Workers-West (UHW) and 121 RN, a union of registered nurses, negotiated a master agreement that covers 31 facilities statewide. Now, that contract is expiring and both sides look forward to addressing key areas including staffing and quality issues, training and education opportunities for caregivers, improving employee health, and competitive wages and benefits to better recruit and retain qualified caregivers.

"We have made huge strides over the past several years by working collaboratively with our employees to address key workplace issues and develop solutions together to make sure we are able to deliver the best care possible," said Jill Dryer, director of marketing and communications for CHW. "We are looking forward to building from our existing relationship to make improvements in this next round of negotiations."

Hospital workers at all 31 SEIU-represented facilities recently elected members to the union's negotiating team, and more bargaining dates have been set for March. The current contract expires April 30. CHW is also currently in negotiations with 2,000 SEIU members in Nevada.

"During the past several years, we have worked with CHW to develop a productive and positive relationship that has included working together on improving conditions in our hospitals as well as on policy and legislative issues and the development of a jointly managed fund to provide training to thousands of healthcare workers," said Martha Vazquez, radiology
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SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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