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El Camino Hospital Reaches Tentative Agreement With Union

The vote to ratify the contract was scheduled for Sept. 19-20.

After several long, and sometimes acrimonious, negotiations between El Camino Hospital and the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare West, a tentative contract agreement has been reached.

In an announcement Wednesday, details of the three-year contract for hospital employees have been released and include a 6 percent salary increase over the life of the contract; fully paid health coverage for employees and their families for the basic plan; improved retirement benefits; and a 12 percent increase in the paid time off accrual cap—from 350 hours to 400 hours.

"Our members are focused on improving health and healthcare," said Dave Regan, president of SEIU- UHW. "We appreciate that El Camino Hospital leadership and the Hospital Board of Directors worked closely with us on this agreement, which not only maintains benefits, but also goes beyond traditional union issues to promote health and wellness."

SEIU-UHW members at the hospital have worked without a contract since Oct. 15, 2011 and the hospital's board of directors declared an impasse that is, an end to negotiations, on Nov. 15, 2011. 

As a result of the contract's expiration, hospital employees now had to contribute 10 percent of their salary toward their health and dental premiums, changes to holiday premium pay,and a 3 percent across the board wage increase. (For the others click here.)

As added pressure to the hospital, SEIU members put an initiative on the 2012 election ballot to cap the salaries of hospital executives and district board members.

"On the initiative, we encourage people to look at it and make an informed decision on whether to support it or not," said Jennifer Kelly, a spokeswoman for the union. "Our focus for this election is to pass Prop. 30 and defeat Prop. 32, given the deep and lasting impact that these will both have on healthcare, working people and the middle class."

This new contract, which the members will vote to ratify on Thursday in Mountain View and Friday at the Los Gatos campus, demonstrates significant movement on behalf of El Camino Hospital.

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement and are encouraged by our collective commitment to build a healthier workforce," said Tomi Ryba, chief executive officer of 443-bed, not-for-profit and locally governed organization. "Our goal is to make it easy for employees to participate in health screening and wellness programs that will enable them to be champions of their own health."

On Tuesday, El Camino Hospital announced an agreement with its internal nurses union, Professional Resource for Nurses.

SEIU-UHW and the nurses' union will also collaborate in the development of a robust employee wellness initiative and work together to encourage employee participation in the program.

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