BY MELODY XU
Daily Post Correspondent
Workers at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City yesterday (July 29) reached an agreement with the hospital that includes a 16% wage increase after a three-week strike.
The union unanimously agreed to a four-year contract that will cover more than 300 employees and grant them a 16% wage increase over the next four years.
On July 7, 95% of members had voted to strike, unhappy with the 3% raises offered to them by Dignity Health, the company that runs Sequoia Hospital.
Employees in the union — American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 829 — are not doctors or nurses but rather aides, surgical technologists, cooks, respiratory therapists and housekeepers.
In the old contract, positions such as cooks and housekeepers made about $50,000 annually while surgical technicians and pulmonary therapists made up to $120,000. Under the new contract, this range will be roughly $58,000 to $139,200.
The old contract gave hospital management the authority to raise health insurance premiums at any time, according to a union representative. That will no longer be the case moving forward — and in fact, union members will not have to pay any health insurance premiums until 2025. Members will also get a signing bonus.
The union said the strike was able to bring hospital management to the bargaining table and take issues seriously — workers had long contended with high workloads, increasing healthcare costs and low wages relative to other hospitals.
“We look forward to welcoming our AFSCME-represented employees back to work,” Dignity Health said in a statement yesterday.
The strike at Sequoia came two months after a one-week strike by Stanford Health’s 5,000 nurses. The strike resulted in a three-year-long contract that increases pay by 7% in the first year and 5% in the two following years.
The deal included improved retirement benefits and better access to mental health care. The union pointed to a Stanford nurse, Michael Odell, who took his own life in January