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No Deal: Hospital Union Rejects Contract

Posted: February 8, 2008 1:56 p.m.
Updated: April 10, 2008 2:01 a.m.
A proposed contract affecting 500 employees at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital was overwhelmingly rejected by United Electrical union employees Thursday night.

The previous three-year contract for the nursing assistants, clerks and technicians belonging to the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America union expired at midnight on Jan. 31.

A union representative could not discuss details about the contract, but hospital representatives have said that the contract includes wage increases, more time off, increased shift differentials and bonuses for outstanding employees.

"The members do plan to return to the bargaining table to get a fair contract," said Leanna Noble, international representative for the union.

She said the Thursday vote was "the highest voter turnout on any contract here at the hospital by our members."

Though the workers are still without a contract, she said the union members "will report to work as they always do."

Noble could not release specific numbers on the vote count.

Mark Puleo, Newhall Memorial's chief human resources officer and leader of management negotiations team, released the following statement Thursday evening: "We are obviously disappointed that union leadership did not encourage the employees to ratify the very good contract which the hospital offered. We assume this vote to be only a temporary set back likely caused by confusion related to the benefits of the proposed contract. The hospital remains ready to again sit down with the union to explain the benefits of its current proposals and we are confident a contract will be ratified in the near future."

The hospital currently gives a 3.25 percent annual wage increase for employees who meet basic expectations. The hospital has proposed holding that rate as well as give employees a wage increase of up to 5.75 a year if they greatly exceed expectations.

Puleo has said the wage increases are the highest the hospital has ever offered.

The contract affects the hospital's Licensed Vocational Nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, ward clerks, radiology technicians, respiratory therapists and information technology employees. The union has been representing those employees since 2000.


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