Local 9600 negotiates health and safety committee, scores big wage wins in latest contract

USW members of Local 9600 in Oroville, Calif., scored several major wins in their new three-year contract, including the formation of a worker-driven joint health and safety committee with Oroville Hospital. 

The health and safety committee will also address worker concerns related to patient care and workplace violence, issues many members prioritized as the union’s bargaining committee prepared for negotiations.  

The team was comprised of essential workers from around the Oroville health care complex and was led by District 12 Staff Representative Tyona Wolk. They also had assistance from the USW’s Strategic Campaigns Department as well as the Collective Bargaining, Research, and Benefits Department, along with the USW Health Care Workers Council. 

Wolk said reaching out to the community and getting their support around safety, and workplace violence in particular, went a long way to securing the numerous gains for the members at Oroville Hospital. 

“The workers will now have the voice they deserve in addressing these issues,” Wolk said. “It will benefit everyone.”

The union’s negotiators addressed each of the 110 job classifications at the hospital separately, achieving an average first-year wage increase of 9.5 percent. They also secured an additional week of vacation for members in the Business Office and Service Unit in an effort to address disparity issues. 

Local 9600 includes approximately 800 workers, from unit clerks and phlebotomists to respiratory therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and environmental service workers.

Throughout bargaining, which began in June 2022, the union kept its members connected via text alerts, bargaining updates, and solidarity actions. The local also enjoyed strong support from the hospital’s registered nurses (RNs), who are not USW members. 

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