As of their March 12 ratification vote, nearly 400 Teamsters 856 members working at St. Rose Hospital in Hayward will be united under one contract. Previously, St. Rose Teamsters had been separated into two groups – the Technical Unit, which included respiratory care practitioners, emergency room technicians, and physical therapist assistants among other patient care technicians, and the Ancillary Unit, which consisted of clerical staff, kitchen workers and certified nurses’ assistants.
The three-year agreement includes wage increases retroactive to October 1, 2014, increases in stand by and call back pay, and improved language that protects members from unfair discipline.
“This is huge,” said Shop Steward and Bargaining Committee Member Pauline Arias of the merged contract. “There’s strength in numbers.”
When the fiscally ailing hospital was sold in 2012, negotiations for both groups were put on hold while Teamsters 856 members worked with the new owners to secure local, county and state funding to ensure that the facility could remain open. St. Rose is one of Hayward’s largest employers and an important safety net hospital, serving large numbers of uninsured and underinsured patients in the community. The pause in negotiations created an opportunity for both contracts, which expired in different years, to “catch up” to each other.
“Uniting technical and ancillary unit members under one contract will be a major benefit to the membership moving forward,” said Teamsters 856 Representative Matthew Mullany, who led the negotiations.
“I’m proud of our bargaining committee who worked diligently to bring a contract to the membership that resulted in significant gains and protections,” he continued.
Shop Steward and Teamsters 856 Trustee Judy Rodrigues has served on every bargaining committee since St. Rose workers became Teamsters more than a decade ago.
“I like the negotiations process – it truly shows that we do have a say in what happens at work,” she said.