Social Workers and Interpreters at Stanford Health Vote to Join SEIU-UHW to Improve Safety, Patient Care, Jobs

Social Workers and Interpreters at Stanford Health Vote to Join SEIU-UHW to Improve Safety, Patient Care, Jobs


April 4, 2023

Media contact: Maria Leal, [email protected]

Palo Alto, Calif. – One hundred and forty-three healthcare workers at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health – Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital voted to improve safety, patient care, and jobs by uniting in SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), a union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers across California. The victory includes social workers and workers in interpreter services at the facility. 

“After 31 years at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, we need Stanford to return to a culture where experience is valued, professional growth is encouraged, and careers are built,” said Karen Jensen, a Social Worker at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. “When workers thrive, patient care improves, and the hospital lives up to its mission.”

These workers will now join the 2,600 SEIU-UHW healthcare workers at Stanford Medical Center and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital who recently negotiated a historic agreement including 15% raises over three years, a $25/hour minimum wage for all workers at the facilities, and numerous improvements to benefits and working conditions.

“Interpreters provide an important service in our hospital”, said Bea Gamble, a Spanish Language Interpreter at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. I’m ready to fight for a contract that ensures patients and families will continue to be supported by a diverse, professional group of world class medical interpreters.”

The workers’ victory was overwhelming: 79 percent of the workers voting supported joining SEIU-UHW. The vote applies to a variety of job classes at the facility, including Social Work Clinicians/MSWs, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Mental Health Clinicians, Social Worker Resource Coordinators, Medical Interpreter/Translators, ASL Interpreters, and Office Assistants. 

This victory is part of a historic unionization wave sweeping through healthcare facilities throughout California. Dialysis workers across the state, including hundreds in the Bay Area, have voted to unite in SEIU-UHW since December. These are the first unionized dialysis workers in California, and more such workers are holding union elections soon. In addition, 1,500 healthcare workers at Sharp Grossmont Hospital near San Diego voted overwhelmingly to unite in SEIU-UHW in February.  

These votes are part of a national wave of unionization across the country in sectors as diverse as Amazon warehouses and Starbucks where workers are taking a stand against poor working conditions, low wages, and exorbitant corporate profits and executive pay. 

# # #

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is a healthcare justice union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients, and healthcare activists united to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality care for all Californians, provided by valued and respected healthcare workers.