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daily bulletinIn California, SEIU nurses picketed their hospital after being presented with a contract that would require senior nurses to pay 5% of the cost of their individual or family health insurance policies. Under the plan, more junior nurses would pay less than they currently do. Furthermore, these nurses overwhelmingly authorized a strike even though the proposed health benefits are more generous than those of other area hospitals.

Nurses are concerned about a proposal from hospital management presented during contract negotiations that calls for those among their ranks, who have 10 years or more of service, to start paying for a portion of their health insurance premiums.

From the hospital’s perspective, what hospital management is trying to do is “to create a balance” so that nurses with fewer years of service at the hospital don’t have to pay a large sum toward their health insurance costs, said Frank Garcia, hospital spokesman…

The proposal the hospital presented calls for the hospital to cover 95 percent of the costs of an employees premium, he said. Employees would be responsible for 5 percent of cost if the policy is for the employee only or for the employee and his or her family.

In addition, the hospital will continue to provide a discount program for eligible dependents and family members who receive services at the hospital, [hospital spokesman Frank] Garcia said. The program includes extended family members.

Hospital officials don’t think the hospital will lose experienced nurses if seasoned nurses are paying a portion of their health premiums.

An analysis of other facilities health benefits indicates the proposed health plan by Pomona Valley “is better than the other hospitals’ in the area,” Garcia said. “Other hospitals don’t offer this type of benefits.”