NEWS: Caregivers at Three Northern California Nursing Homes Join SEIU-UHW to Improve Safety, Patient Care and Healthcare Jobs

For Immediate Release: Friday, June 28, 2012

Contact: Jarard Kings, 323-246-5565

Caregivers at Three Northern California Nursing Homes Join SEIU-UHW to Improve Safety, Patient Care and Healthcare Jobs

Los Angeles – Nearly 200 workers seeking to improve staffing and patient care at three Northern California nursing homes voted to form a union with Service Employees International Union, United Healthcare Workers – West (SEIU-UHW).

“I enjoy caring for our patients and understand patient care,” said Marrissa Nichol Smith, a certified nursing assistant at Windsor Vallejo Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “I want to continue doing this job; that’s why having increased safety conditions, job security and mutual respect between management and workers is so important to me.”

In an effort to improve working conditions and care for residents, 90 caregivers at Windsor Vallejo Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Vallejo, 70 certified nursing assistants at Westview Healthcare Center in Auburn and 12 licensed vocational nurses at Shasta View Nursing Center in Weed all overwhelmingly voted to join the union.

“Caregivers need job security and enough supplies to take good care of residents,” said Bertha Ramirez, a certified nursing assistant at Westview Healthcare Center. “It’s especially important to have job security so we are not worried about what’s going to happen to us or our residents.”

With the additions of Windsor Vallejo, Westview, and Shasta View, SEIU-UHW now represents 13 facilities in the Windsor nursing home chain, seven Plum-owned facilities, and nine facilities owned by Meridian Foresight.

In the coming weeks, caregivers in all three nursing homes will prepare for their respective negotiations for a new contract. Top priorities include improvements to patient care, safety, scheduling practices and job security.

With their vote to join SEIU-UHW, caregivers at the three facilities will join 150,000 SEIU-UHW members working for better health, quality care, and good jobs through the statewide Let’s Get Healthy California initiative, launched earlier this year by the union.  The initiative is the centerpiece of a commitment by SEIU-UHW members to help workers and people in their communities get healthier to lower costs and improve quality of life. As part of the Let’s Get Healthy California effort, SEIU-UHW members:

  • Reached a first-of-its-kind strategic agreement with the California Hospital Association to work together to improve quality care, lower costs, improve the incentives for healthcare funding, and engage in high-road labor relations.
  • Worked with Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Endowment on an executive order that seeks to significantly reduce chronic disease in California over the next 10 years. The Executive Order established a high-level task force to develop a comprehensive plan for healthcare by the end of the year. The task force held its first meeting this month, and will issue its recommendations by the end of the year.
  • Introduced and helped pass state legislation, with other unions and community partners, to reorganize and improve long-term care in California by reforming the way home care is organized and funded.
  • Extended the ‘Let’s Get Healthy California’ campaign nationally, through the US Conference of Mayors. The mayors endorsed Let’s Get Healthy California at their June 2012 national conference and then adopted a resolution to replicate the California Let’s Get Healthy Task Force in other cities throughout the United States.
  • Received an $11 million grant for a pilot program to train home care providers to work with healthcare providers as a team to improve the health of California’s disabled and elderly home care recipients and lower costs.
  • Received a grant from the California Endowment to sign up people in South Los Angeles for healthcare programs for which they qualify but have not taken advantage.
  • Working with Kaiser to promote and screen the HBO series “The Weight of the Nation” in an effort to reduce the epidemic of obesity in America.
  • Working in partnership with the pro soccer team Chivas USA in Los Angeles to provide health screenings and information about healthy living before home games at the Home Depot Center.
  • Working with Dr. Nadine Burke, a physician who is taking a unique approach to treating low-income children at the Bayview Child Health Center in San Francisco.
  • Establishing a permanent presence at San Francisco’s Sunday Streets, a massive monthly street festival where SEIU-UHW members are teaching people Tai Chi, engaging children in healthy activities like hula-hooping, and providing free health screenings for members of the public.

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 SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West (SEIU-UHW) is the largest hospital and healthcare union in the western United States with more than 150,000 members. We unite every type of healthcare worker with a mission to achieve high-quality healthcare for all. SEIU-UHW is part of the 2.1 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation’s fastest-growing union. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.

Source: SEIU-UHW

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