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Union, Alta Bates End Two-Year Dispute, By: Richard Brenneman

Friday February 10, 2006

The two-year-long labor dispute at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center hospitals appears at an end, with both sides announcing a settlement Thursday. 

Union members have scheduled a ratification vote for Tuesday. 

In a statement issued Tuesday to hospital staff, Alta Bates Summit CEO Warren Kirk said the new accord includes a wage increase of four percent, followed by another two percent in May 2007, followed by three percent more in November of that year. 

Those raises are on top of an increase previously awarded in August 2004 and another a year later, Kirk said. 

Union members will also receive another $1,000 apiece on ratification of the new contract, which expires on June 30, 2008.  

The last contract between the 1300 members of SEIU United Healthcare West and the hospitals expired in April 2004. 

The union represents licensed vocational nurses and other employees at the hospitals. 

During the course of the protracted negotiations, union employees staged a walkout and both sides filed unfair practice complaints with the National Labor Relations Board. 

The union said the contract matched an agreement signed following a nine-week strike at San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center. That facility, like Alta Bates Summit, is part of Sacramento-based Sutter Health, which has hospitals and clinics throughout North California. 

“Patients are the real winners of this tentative agreement,” said union President Sal Roselli. “They will now be served by caregivers who have a real voice in staffing and access to a training and upgrade fund.” 

“Once again, we have demonstrated that when two sides want to reach an agreement, it can be done,” said Kirk. “We were able to negotiate a contract that addressed issues important to the union and the medical center.” 

The new agreement also provides for third party arbitration of staffing disputes. ›