- Healthcare workers in California cinched a five-year labor deal with Dignity Health as the San Francisco-based nonprofit prepares to merge with Catholic Health Initiatives.
- Under the new contract, 15,000 members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West will maintain fully paid, employer-based family healthcare and a defined benefit pension. Dignity will also provide 13% raises spread over five years and a 1% bonus in year two of the contract, the union said.
- The deal, announced Monday, expires April 30, 2023.
The contract comes after workers at a number of Dignity hospitals voiced their concerns that the Dignity-CHI merger would lead to job cuts.
In February, employees at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, California, planned to picket outside the facility to pressure parent company Dignity to sign a new contract. The protest was called off after SEIU-UHW and Dignity agreed to continue negotiations. At the time, the company said it was doing what it could to reach an agreement “that is fair to our employees, our patients and our organization.”
Labor contracts don’t just affect nurses, technicians and hospital support staff. With the increase in hospital-owned physician practices and hospital-employed physicians, they, too, are affected by pay and benefits negotiations.
According to new research by Avalere, hospitals acquired 5,000 physician practices and employed 14,000 doctors between July 2015 and July 2016. The study updates a four-year analysis showing the number of hospital-owned practices and hospital-owned physicians increased by 100% and 63%, respectively, from 2012 to 2016.
In December, Dignity and CHI signed a definitive agreement to merge into a new nonprofit health system, capping off talks going back to at least October 2016. The move, which is expected to be completed by the end of June, would create the largest nonprofit hospital system in the country based on operating revenue, with $28.4 billion across 139 hospitals in 28 states.