Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

University of California Nurses Reach Contract Following Stanford Nurses Strike

Just weeks after a nearby strike at Stanford Hospital, which led to the union winning a contract, nurses at the University of California have reached their own contract agreement with compensation and other gains for healthcare workers. When healthcare workers strike, their fight extends beyond their workplaces, helping others win too.

Mike Pappas

July 14, 2022
Facebook Twitter Share

Healthcare workers with the University of California Nurses Association have come to an agreement with the University of California after days of contract negotiations. 

The newly ratified contract will see a number of gains for nurses who work in University of California (UC) medical and student health facilities. Characterizing the contract, one UC nurse who spoke with Left Voice noted how the majority of nurses felt like the recent contract was a win. The nurse highlighted how during negotiations, the union abandoned nothing on the table.

Nurses will see across the board salary increases over the next three years, with a minimum of 16% increase in pay over the course of the contract. This was achieved even while many hospitals are trying to hold to the typical three percent increase despite inflation exceeding eight percent. The nurses will also see increased paid leave for family care and bonding and gain Juneteenth as an officially recognized holiday, among other improvements. 

This deal came just weeks after healthcare workers at Stanford went on strike to win a new contract. In the case of the UC nurses, the hospital actually asked to come to the table early to make a deal to avoid protracted contract bargaining. While the UC hospital system frames this as demonstrating their “generosity” for nurses’ service, the recent win shows the power of striking healthcare workers can extend beyond their own workplace and suggests that these early negotiations were part of an attempt to avoid a strike. 

Strikes win gains, not just for the striking healthcare workers themselves, but also for other workers. In the case of the UC contract negotiations, the UC health system can pretend all it wants that it just wanted to come to a friendly deal with nurses, but hospital executives know the threat of a strike and wanted to avoid a similar scenario to Stanford. 

It’s important to understand these gains in the context of other wins in California hospital systems: California is the only state where there are nurse-patient ratios established by law, a provision that was achieved by collaboration of nurses from different unions in 1999. When unions fight together, they can win.

So as the U.S. healthcare system continues to prove it has little regard for public health whatsoever, striking healthcare workers show us the way to fight back. Bosses and healthcare executives often claim strikes will “harm the health of patients.” They try to curtail healthcare workers from striking by claiming they are “abandoning patients,” but the only people “abandoning” or “harming” patients and community are healthcare executives themselves. The current healthcare system under capitalism is directly harmful to patients. 

Healthcare system executives, insurance companies and their executives, pharmaceutical companies, and all other executives that make up the medical industrial complex are nothing more than criminals who are actively harming patients by continually putting profit over lives. No healthcare worker thinking of striking should ever be deterred by this propaganda. 

As healthcare workers, we must organize together to fight against this propaganda and for a healthcare system controlled by patients and healthcare workers. Strikes are one of the best tools healthcare workers have in this fight. The recent results in California are only the most recent confirmation of our power.

Facebook Twitter Share

Mike Pappas

Mike is an activist and medical doctor working in New York City.

Labor Movement

Hear a Striking Minnesota Nurse Speak Out about the Exploitative Working Conditions Nurses Face

Below we share the text from a speech a striking nurse gave to others on strike in Minnesota. Those striking are fighting against hospitals and a healthcare system that continues to put profit over people’s lives.

Maryam Alaniz

September 14, 2022

Now More than Ever, the Working Class Needs Independent, Democratic Unions

Recently, discussions about unionization have become a national conversation. New workplaces are unionizing and the question of how to ensure their democratic functioning is the order of the day.

James Dennis Hoff

September 14, 2022
A crowd of about 100 workers and their allies, many of them dressed in SEIU purple, gather with signs in front of Columbia's Butler Library to demand bigger raises

SEIU Colludes with Columbia to Push Through Contract for Staff

The proposed contract would provide raises of only three percent per year, an effective pay cut. Workers are waging a “Vote No” campaign.

Olivia Wood

September 1, 2022

Fighting for Union Recognition and Quality Care: An Interview with a Madison, WI Nurse

Left Voice member and NYC healthcare worker Mike Pappas interviews a nurse from Madison, Wisconsin about his and his coworkers’ lengthy fight for union recognition. Nurses are currently preparing for a potential strike if the hospital continues to deny recognizing their union.

Left Voice

August 31, 2022

MOST RECENT

Italian far-right leader Giorgia Meloni gives a speech, an Italian flag covers the podium

Elections in Italy amid Political Crisis: Interview with an Italian Socialist

The right wing is expected to win in Italy’s snap elections on Sunday. An Italian socialist explains the origins of the current political crisis, the rise of the right wing, and the tasks for the Left.

Left Voice

September 21, 2022
Detroit protesters hold green banner that says "DTE" Affordable Renewable Energy Now

Detroiters Say ‘Hell No!’ to DTE’s Proposed Electricity Rate Hike

Detroiters are confronting regulators who are deciding whether private utilities can extract more profits from the working class during energy, inflation, housing, and climate crises.

Lee Palmer

September 20, 2022

Say Her Name! Protests Erupt across Iran after Police Murder of Mahsa Amini

Iran has erupted over the death of a young woman in police custody for "improperly" wearing the hijab. In the context of a deep economic and political crisis, Iranians are also questioning their deeply unpopular regime and its brutal oppression of women.

Maryam Alaniz

September 20, 2022
US President Joe Biden stands in a suit wearing a mask, but is taking off one side of it.

Despite What Biden Says, the Pandemic Isn’t Over

Joe Biden and the bourgeoisie may be ready for the pandemic to be over, but that doesn’t mean Covid-19 has gone away.

Olivia Wood

September 20, 2022