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Hospital employees return to work.

Members of five unions at Summit Hospital in Oakland, CA, ended a 46-day work stoppage with 3-year collective bargaining agreements. The dispute focused on the unions' right to engage in sympathy strikes, in which workers honor other picket lines during a strike.

The 1,700 cooks, housekeepers, technicians, and nurses involved in the job action were represented by the California Nurses Association, the Service Employees International Union, the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, the Office and Professional Employees International Union, and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union. (A sixth union, the Stationary Engineers, subsequently joined the walkout.)

Employees had worked without a contract since March, when the Merritt Peralta Medical Center merged with Providence Hospital to form Summit. Labor contracts at Merritt Peralta barred sympathy strikes, while agreements at Providence allowed such actions.

The contract calls for salary increases ranging from 5 percent for housekeepers and laundry workers to 9 percent for registered nurses and 12 percent for medical technicians; full medical coverage with no deductibles for employees who use Summit doctors; and the layoff of replacements and employees who crossed the picket lines to work at the hospital during the strike. (The 9-percent wage increase brings annual starting salaries for nurses to about $47,000.)

The agreement also incorporated a Federal mediator's proposal allowing for sympathy strikes. The agreement permits sympathy strikes only after all contract provisions have been exhausted, including 90 days' advance notice to renegotiate an expiring contract, a 30-day period in which the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service would establish a board of inquiry to make recommendations to resolve disputes between the hospital and any union; and a 10-day notice for any union to initiate or join a strike.
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Title Annotation:end of strike at Summit Hospital, Oakland, California
Author:Cimini, Michael H.; Behrmann, Susan L.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Nov 1, 1992
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