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UPDATED: Catholic Healthcare West and SEIU Begin Negotiations for 15,000 Hospital Workers

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 technician and UHW member. "We look forward to establishing new standards in this next round of negotiations."

"We are excited to begin negotiations with CHW and continue to raise standards for nurses and patients across California," said Chris Slane, registered nurse and 121 RN member. "We look forward to working with CHW to be a model employer for hospital systems across the state."

Hospitals covered by the bargaining include: Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City; Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco; Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield and Mercy Southwest Hospital in Bakersfield; St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo; St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard; French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo; Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria; Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta; St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Red Bluff; Mercy Medical Center Redding; Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael; Mercy Hospital of Folsom; Mercy General Hospital and Methodist Hospital of Sacramento in Sacramento; Woodland Healthcare; Mark Twain St. Joseph's Hospital in San Andreas; St. Joseph's Behavioral Health Center and St. Joseph's Medical Center in Stockton; Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz; St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach; California Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles; Northridge Hospital Medical Center; Community Hospital of San Bernardino and St. Bernardine Medical Center in San Bernardino.

San Francisco-based CHW is a system of 42 hospitals and medical centers in California, Arizona and Nevada. Founded in 1986, CHW is the eighth-largest hospital system in the nation. It's committed to delivering compassionate, high-quality, affordable health care services.

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

121 RN is an SEIU-affiliated Southern California union of 7,000 nurses in Riverside, Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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