Labor

Asian Health Services workers approve contract for higher wages, avoid strike

Workers at Asian Health Services approved a union contract on Friday, weeks after more than 300 employees last month had threatened to go on strike. The three-year contract for members of the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 raises wages by an average of more than 21%.  “A lot of our staff are really thinking about staying now, which is what we wanted,” said Vicky Tan, a medical assistant at Asian Health Services. “Such a heavy feeling has been lifted.”…

SEIU tells Alameda County to ‘staff up,’ as more than 2,000 vacancies weigh on workers

Over 300 public service workers marched from the Lake Merritt Amphitheater to the Alameda County Administration Building Monday, demanding that county officials fill thousands of vacant positions.  “Staff up Alameda County. Alameda County staff up!” chanted members of Service Employees International Union, which represents about 4,200 county workers.  The picketers included nurses, clerical and library staff, health care and social service workers, eligibility technicians and employment counselors. With contract negotiations under way, they also demanded wage increases, a more flexible…

UPDATE: Tentative agreement reached in week 10 of Kaiser Permanente workers’ strike

The union representing Kaiser Permanente mental health workers said Tuesday afternoon that the sides have tentatively agreed to a four-year contract, ending the 10-week strike. The National Union of Healthcare Workers said in a news release that the agreement will benefit patients and improve access to mental health care, “while at the same time recognizing and better supporting mental health therapists in their important work.”  Nearly 2,000 Kaiser Permanente therapists represented by NUHW will vote on the contract over the…

“This country is really nice, but it has a price’: Fruitvale laborers take stage with stories of love, loss, longing

The nine performers on stage Saturday night at Oakland Theater Project weren’t professional actors. They were day laborers from Fruitvale who relinquished the safety of silence to tell their stories.  And they will do it again at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at FLAX art & design, 1501 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in downtown Oakland.  Under a project called Teatro Jornalero, workers from Central America, Mexico and the United States share intimate stories of the turmoil that drove them from their…

Oakland has spent millions fighting former police chief’s successful lawsuit

Oakland has spent almost $2.9 million to date to defend a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by former police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick.  A federal jury last Saturday, finding the city had no grounds to fire Kirkpatrick, awarded her $337,645 in damages — an amount equal to a year’s compensation.  Ryan Richardson, Oakland special counsel, said the award was “equivalent of the one-year severance the City was ready and willing to pay when she was terminated in 2020.” According to an expense…

Union members walk out of Kaiser Permanente to support engineers on strike for 62 days

More than 40,000 Kaiser employees and members of three local unions walked out at 21 Kaiser hospitals across Northern California on Thursday in support of striking stationary engineers.  On Friday, the California Nurses Association will follow suit. “Every single worker in our health care system, including the engineers who are on strike, deserve to have fair working conditions and a union contract,” said Oakland City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas, who came to show solidarity with the International Union of…

UPDATE: Kaiser Permanente meets with striking engineers and mediators

As the strike of stationary and biomedical engineers stretched into a 36th day, the union and employer Kaiser Permanente engaged in mediation Friday that ended without an agreement. The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 39 told members around 5:30 p.m. that the session had ended with little headway made. While the sides agreed to continue with the federal mediator, a new session has not yet been scheduled. A day earlier, outside Kaiser Permanente headquarters in Oakland, striking hospital employees…

Vaccine plan for Oakland workers irks unions, who say they were left out

Oakland’s labor unions say they should have been involved in a draft mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy that would apply to the city’s 4,500 or so employees as a condition of employment. “Unions aren’t against vaccines at all,” said Elizabeth Ortega, executive director of the Alameda Labor Council. “But we do want to stay at the table.” Ortega said that the 135 unions that ALC represents received notice of the mandate only a few hours before the draft was released. She…