[April 6, 2020] For the first time, members of the Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West have used video conferencing to reach a contract settlement, conducting negotiations while keep the union and management bargaining teams safe from the coronavirus.
The agreement with the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) will ensure that workers’ wages continue to rise while they take care of patients in the newly pressured and dangerous environment brought on by the spread of COVID-19. Each member of the bargaining teams joined the negotiations from their home using a video conferencing software.
The agreement covers 3,100 workers in five HCA hospitals – Good Samaritan Hospital and Regional Medical Center, both in San Jose, Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, West Hills Hospital and Medical Center and Riverside Community Hospital.
“The bargaining was long and hard – and most importantly safe – but in the end we achieved an agreement that even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic gives workers hope for a brighter future,” said Jeff Acosta, a Multi Skilled Clerk at Riverside Community Hospital. “These are incredibly stressful times for everyone, especially healthcare workers, and this is one bit of good news in an otherwise bleak period.”
Under the agreement, workers will receive 3% raises for each of the next 3 years, maintain their fully paid family premium health plan without increases in other costs, and maintain their education and training fund so workers can learn new skills and advance their careers. The contract also brings 130 newly organized workers into the agreement.
Ratification of the contract also will be done virtually to protect members of the union.