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Friday, Aug 12, 2022
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Caregivers Postpone Strike

A union for local hospital caregivers decided to postpone a one-day strike slated for Dec. 3 in order to resume bargaining with a federal mediator, the union announced. The strike, organized by members of Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, or SEIU-UHW, was expected to take place at Hospital Corporation of America, or HCA, hospitals in California from 6 a.m. on Dec. 3 to 6 a.m. on Dec. 4. The HCA hospitals include West Hills Hospital & Medical Center and Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks. At the request of the federal mediator, the hospital system and union agreed to resume bargaining Friday. The caregivers union called the strike following failed negotiations with HCA over higher pay and benefits. The union was also planning to hold the strike in protest to alleged policy changes by HCA officials, which the union called a risk to caregivers and patients. The union alleged that those changes included altered staffing levels for certified nursing assistants, higher numbers of patients per caregiver, more demanding lifting requirements for housekeeping workers and removal of protective gear for caregivers dealing with isolated patients who are considered contagious. The union also alleged that HCA management have engaged in unfair bargaining practices and employee intimidation. Officials at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center recently said the hospital has not implemented such policy changes, nor has it engaged in unfair practices or intimidation. Jessica Vernabe

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