Strike ends, workers reach new deal with Sequoia Hospital

Sequoia Hospital at 170 Alameda de las Pulgas in Redwood City. Photo from the hospital's website.

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

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