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Packard Children's and Stanford Hospitals Ready for 48-Hour SEIU Strike.

STANFORD, Calif. -- Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and Stanford Hospital & Clinics are prepared for a 48-hour strike set to begin January 24, following a decision by leadership of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 715. Union leaders announced the strike today despite an agreement by the two parties to meet with a federal mediator next Tuesday, January 17.

"While we support the right of our employees to union representation, we're disappointed that their leadership is resorting to work stoppages instead of negotiating in good faith," said Martha H. Marsh, President and Chief Executive Officer of Stanford Hospital & Clinics. "Nevertheless, patient care remains our number one priority and we've made a commitment to maintain normal operations during this period. Systems are in place to ensure that we can care for our patients with non-SEIU staff and the many SEIU workers we expect will choose to work during this walkout."

On December 12, 2005, the union held a one-day work stoppage. On the day of the strike, official hospital time cards and security records show that 54% of those employees scheduled to work chose to cross the picket lines instead of support the union.

The union represents 1,412 out of 8,432 employees at the hospitals. Represented positions include hospital workers in jobs such as housekeeping, food service, nursing assistants, and certain technicians.

Packard Children's and Stanford hospitals have offered SEIU employees a highly competitive contract that includes:

--Increased wages over three years averaging at least 12%

--An additional 2.5% to 10% salary adjustment for many job positions

--Continued fully paid health coverage for employees and their children

--New fully paid health coverage for spouses of employees earning less than $50,000 a year

--Increased retirement contributions for employees with 15 years or more service

--Increased on-call and call-back pay

--In addition, the hospitals recently supplemented this offer with added assurances related to planned growth

Despite this offer and the decision of many workers to cross the picket lines, it is believed that the union's leadership is focused on a larger agenda of expanding membership, especially since breaking with the AFL-CIO last July. Packard Children's and Stanford aren't the only hospitals where contracts have been delayed due to this strategy. The SEIU has used this similar strategy with other hospitals in Northern California and across the nation.

"We believe professional mediation will help resolve this contract issue and therefore we desire and agreed to resume federal mediation," said Christopher G. Dawes, President and CEO of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. "At the same time, we call upon the SEIU leadership to focus their efforts at the bargaining table. Delays and work stoppages benefit no one -- not our employees and certainly not the patients and their loved ones who depend on our quality care."

About Lucile Packard Children's Hospital

Ranked as one of the nation's top 10 pediatric hospitals by U.S.News & World Report, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford is a 264-bed hospital devoted to the care of children and expectant mothers. Providing pediatric and obstetric medical and surgical services and associated with the Stanford School of Medicine, Packard Children's Hospital offers patients locally, regionally and nationally the full range of health-care programs and services from preventive and routine care to the diagnosis and treatment of serious illness and injury. For more information, visit http://www.lpch.org.

About Stanford Hospital

Stanford Hospital & Clinics is a university-owned, non-profit corporation known for advanced patient care. The 613-bed hospital in Northern California consistently ranks among the top in the nation in surveys by consumers and health professionals. Stanford Hospital & Clinics, in cooperation with the Stanford University Medical School, has pioneered medical advances that save lives and protect against disease. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.stanfordhospital.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jan 14, 2006
Words:629
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