Mental Health Strike at Kaiser Oakland - 01/01/2024 at 7pm - Learn More >>

Kindred San Diego professional workers ratify their first union contract

Not long after holding their first-ever strike, laboratory and pharmacy workers at Kindred Hospital San Diego unanimously ratified their first union contract that includes 23 percent wage increases over three years.

The agreement, which also includes more pay for working nights and weekends, bonuses for working extra shifts and a new seniority-based wage grid will help retain and attract employees at the 70-bed hospital.

“There’s a lot of people the director has interviewed, and they’ve turned down the offer because of the pay,” said Pharmacy Tech Julie Nguyen. “Now, there’s a better chance people will choose to work here.”

The contract covers approximately 20 workers who organized last year and held a three-day strike in October after management refused to bargain in good faith.

The work stoppage strengthened everyone’s resolve, Nguyen said, and pushed Kindred to finally put a meaningful offer on the table after the company insisted on limiting wage increases to as little as 2 percent per year.

“When we were out striking, Kindred saw what the pharmacy department does and how important our jobs are,” said Nguyen, who took part in the strike — her first ever union action.

“The strike helped,” she said. “This is much better than what was negotiated before.”

The wage increases are particularly good for long-time workers who had not been receiving adequate raises for years.

“I know some techs have been here over 10 years and a lot of them didn’t have a good increase or an increase at all. This will make a good difference for them,” Nguyen said.

Besides pay, she hopes the new contract will alleviate the high turnover at the hospital, which has forced pharmacists to take on more responsibilities and directly impacts patient care.

“We’re just so understaffed,” said Nguyen, who for a while was covering for someone who was on maternity leave. “Usually, I’d be the only pharmacy tech; sometimes a maximum of two techs a day. It was really bad.”

After months of negotiations, Nguyen said that she and her co-workers are happy to have an agreement that recognizes their work and contributions to the hospital.

“This is a contract that is fair for the people on the team,” she said.

More from NUHW


Change-makers wanted!
Join our team