Santa Rosa, Petaluma hospital workers’ union reaches three-year contract

Medical workers at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Petaluma Valley Hospital approved a three-year labor agreement over the weekend, according to the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

The NUWH said Monday a majority of employees at both hospitals approved a tentative labor agreement that was hammered out two weeks ago, just before workers were scheduled to carry out a one-day strike on June 9.

The workers represented by NUHW, 680 employees at Memorial Hospital and 150 at Petaluma Valley, include licensed vocational nurses, nursing assistants, radiology technicians, clerical workers, secretaries, and food service and janitorial service workers.

Union officials said 92 percent of NUHW members at Petaluma Valley and 71 percent of members at Memorial voted in favor of the contract. The union would not release exact figures on how many union members participated in the vote on the tentative labor agreement.

According to Dennis Dugan, an NUHW coordinator, the agreement included wage increases over the next three years: 5 percent in each of the first two years and 3.25 in the third year. Dugan said roughly half the union workers, will receive an immediate 6 percent wage increase.

The union said the increase was aimed at making local St. Joseph jobs more competitive with surrounding employment opportunities. Dugan said the agreement also includes the ability to mediate staffing disputes through third-party mediation or through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

The agreement includes changes to Memorial Hospital employees’ benefits package that bring it in line with other St. Joseph Health hospital systems.

One area not addressed to the satisfaction of some employees was an increase in staffing ratios that could relieve some of the pressure and workload.

“We’re happy we’re able to reach an agreement with the employer,” Dugan said. “However, we know there are still a number of outstanding issues around patient care and staffing levels and we’re determined to continue to address those issues going forward.”

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