|UE negotiators cast their ballots for the first contract
between new Local 1004 and Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. From left,
Terry Bucknall, Laura Lerma, Judy Hice and Leticia Ramirez.
|The election process. Hospital staff, members of Local 1004,
mark their ballots. The first contract covers some 500 licensed vocational
nurses, nurses’ aides and other ancillary staff.
One day before the strike scheduled for Nov. 22, a majority of
the nearly 500 employees of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital represented
by UE Local 1004 voted to accept the terms of their first collective
A tentative agreement had been reached Nov. 16; the contract
took effect Dec. 10. UE bargained jointly with the California Nurses
Association (CNA); a majority of the CNA-represented registered nurses also
voted on Nov. 21 to accept the agreement.
The struggle for a first contract grew in intensity in recent
months. Henry Mayo’s licensed vocational nurses, nurses’ aides, pharmacy
techs, lab employees and other ancillary staff voted to join UE in February,
following the RNs’ decision to organize with CNA.
In September, Henry Mayo management unveiled an unacceptable
"final" offer. Management insisted on the right to cut wages,
personal time, health and pension benefits during the length of the contract.
Union members mobilized to show their opposition, and to build community
support for a fair settlement (See: Local 1004
Seeks Fairness in First Contract, UE News, Oct. 2000).
Local 1004 and CNA members, family and friends took part in a
candlelight vigil and other activities in support of the unions’ campaign
for a fair first contract. A Local 1004 delegation took 1,000 postcards signed
by members of the community and taped together in sheets of about 100 each to
administration offices. Union members also circulated a petition to management
and the board of directors that expressed support for the union’s bargaining
STAFF MAKES POINT
Is Not Yet Done'
Our work is
not yet done," said UE Local 1004 and CNA negotiators in a letter
published in The Signal, the area’s daily newspaper. "There
remain 75 housekeeping and food service workers engaged in a struggle for a
fair contract with their contracted employer, ISSI."
Newhall Memorial Hospital contracted out its housekeeping, linen and food
services. Workers employed by the subcontractor, ISSI, also voted to join UE.
These members of Local 1004 are still engaged in their own first-contract
struggle. ISSI is under investigation for illegal labor practices, including
use of delay tactics to prevent real negotiations.
issues address poverty wages, poor staffing and lack of affordable
benefits," observed the Henry Mayo union leaders. "We will not rest
until there is fairness for everyone."
Hospital Food, Housekeeping Staff Choose UE
(UE News, May 2000)
UE and CNA members, and children, were back in front of the
hospital on the night before Halloween (See: Halloween
Picket Line Says 'Trick or Treat', UE News, Nov. 2000).
Management got the message, and rescinded its
"final" offer. Talks began to show progress; the unions issued a
10-day strike notice on Nov. 12.
"We’ve proven we can join together and fight for our
rights," commented Terry Bucknall, a UE negotiating committee
member. "The employees are in a much better position than we were in a
year ago at this time."
UE members say the two-year contract represents a good start
in addressing issues of patient care, retention, recruitment and fairness —
although there is still a long way to go to resolve issues.
The contract establishes fair "floating" provisions.
The hospital recognizes its obligation to protect employees’ duty to be
advocates for patients and to comply with all laws governing staffing and the
delivery of patient care.
Subjective, "merit" based pay increases are a thing
of the past. Effective Dec. 10, hospital employees received across-the-board
raises of 1 percent or 20 cents, whichever is greater, and will receive a 2
percent increase on their next anniversary date and an automatic 3 percent
increase in 18 months (June 2002).
All employees with six years of seniority will receive 50-cent
hourly differential; those with 15 years will receive an additional 50 cents
For the first time ever, Henry Mayo will match up to 3 percent
of an employee’s contribution to the pension plan.
The contract establishes overtime provisions, including time
and one-half after 8 hours, for those on a 8-hour shift, and time and one-half
after 10 hours for those on a 10-hour shift. All employees will receive two
times their rate of pay after 12 hours of work.
Employees will no longer be required to to use their paid time
off for the first day of illness; sick leave will be paid from the first day
of illness. Sick leave accrual is capped on 320 hours.
Health insurance premiums will not increase and benefits will
not decrease. A contract re-opener in April 2001 will be an opportunity to
negotiate improvements in health benefits.
A STRONG VOICE
Hospital staff will now have the right to representation at
all steps of a new three-step grievance procedure. Management will have to
justify all discipline, which can be only for "just cause."
Departmental stewards will be officially recognized by the hospital and may
participate in new employee orientation.
The contract contains full union security — a hotly
contested issue in negotiations.
Henry Mayo staff gain seniority protection, job posting and
"The recent ratification of our contract will definitely
improve our day-to-day working conditions and give us a brighter future,"
said the members of the UE and CNA negotiating committees, in a letter to the
editor of The Signal, the Santa Clarita Valley’s daily newspaper.
The letter publicly expressed the union members’
appreciation for community support.
UE Genl. Pres. John Hovis met with the UE negotiators
in the critical final days of bargaining.
The UE Local 1004 negotiating committee consisted of Judy
Hice, Terry Bucknall, Laura Lerma, Leticia Ramirez, Shirley Augustine and Yvonne
Allbee. They were assisted by UE Intl. Rep. Fernando Losada and
Field Organizers Leah Fried, Angela MacWhinnie and Carol Igoe.