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Hospital, Union Continue Contract Talks

Union members rejected proposal.

Posted: February 20, 2008 11:04 p.m.
Updated: April 23, 2008 5:04 a.m.
 
The union representing 500 vocational nurses, nursing assistants, technicians and other support positions at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital is set to return to the bargaining table today to negotiate a new contract after union members rejected the hospital's proposal on Feb. 7.

Members of the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America union have been working without a contract since Jan. 31.

The contract includes pay raises, more time off, insurance benefits and bonuses for outstanding employees.

Union representative Leanna Noble has said that the workers plan to continue showing up to work through the negotiations.

A statement released by the union this week read, "Our members don't understand how the hospital has the money for the master plan medical office buildings and parking structures when employees' pay isn't keeping up with increased costs for basics like food, housing and health insurance."

Union representatives say that the cost of their health insurance is too high and the pay raises do not keep up with the cost of living.

Hospital representatives say the pay raises are the most generous terms the hospital has offered in the hospital's eight-year relationship with the union and the wages cover cost of living increases.

"The hospital's current wage proposals contain a base increase of 3.25 percent. That is greater than the cost of living increases as reported by the Department of Labor (3.2 percent)," Mark Puleo, the hospital's chief human resources officer said Wednesday. "The current proposals are also designed to reward employees based on merit and enable them to earn up to 5.75 percent - 75 percent more than the Department of Labor's cost of living increase rate.

"Last year almost 60 percent of the employees received merit based increases well above 3.25 percent."

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