Local 183 members rally for a fair contract in California

Members of Local 183, which represents 750 workers at the St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, Calif., have been bargaining for a new contract for more than a year, all while battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is why a group of members, including USW siblings from several nearby locals, picketed outside the facility on Wed., Sept. 15, to show their employer and the community they aren’t giving up.

“We’ve all had to shift and make sacrifices throughout this pandemic, and now management wants to increase our health care costs and reduce our sick days,” said Local 183 President Alma Garzon. “We deserve so much better than that.”

A less-than-fair proposal isn’t the only barrier the members are facing.

In August, a regional office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that St. Mary Medical Center management engaged in bad faith bargaining tactics during negotiations in the spring. As a result, the hospital entered into a settlement with the NLRB and agreed to end its unlawful conduct.

Local Vice President Ann Marie Ruiz reflected during the action about the chaos of 2020 and the trauma so many health care workers, including her co-workers, had to endure. To Ruiz, this makes the state of negotiations even more frustrating.

“I don’t understand why we are being neglected,” said Ruiz. “Why do we have to plead and beg for justice and fairness, after all we’ve been through?”

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